RNC Committeeman Steve Duprey talks with NH1 News about the fight to keep NH first in the GOP primary calendar

Jul 17, 2016 12:41 PM

HAPPENING MONDAY: NH's fight to stay first in GOP primary calendar not over yet

NH1 News Political Director

CLEVELAND – When it comes to protecting its first-in-the-nation primary status in the GOP calendar, New Hampshire isn’t 100 percent out of the woods yet.

What appeared to be a clear-cut victory for the Granite State late last week may not be so clear-cut.

There could be some drama as the Republican Convention’s 112-member Rules Committee meets one final time Monday morning, The GOP rules adopted by the committee in meetings Thursday and Friday will face a final vote. Those rules include maintaining the current status quo for New Hampshire and the other so-called ‘carve out’ states that vote first in the primary and caucus calendar.

Steve Duprey, New Hampshire’s longtime Republican National Committee member and a veteran of the Rules Committee, told NH1 News that the fight “goes onward. We never stop. We’re lobbying today.”

Last week opponents of keeping the status quo, after losing a key test vote, decided not to put forward proposals that could have eventually resulted in the end of the carve out position for New Hampshire, Iowa (which holds the first caucus), South Carolina (the first southern state to vote), and Nevada (which holds the first western contest).

But the concern is that the opponents, many of them supporters of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, might have enough votes to file a minority report that could jeopardize the status of the carve out states. That minority report would likely mandate that New Hampshire and the three other early voting states adopt the proportionality rules used by the RNC rather than the state rules each currently uses.

If the opponents can get 28 votes on the Rules Committee, the minority report would be filed and would then come up for a vote by the full convention at its first session on Monday afternoon.

"There’s an hour where people can file a minority report. We hear rumors that they’ll file a minority report about the carve out states. If they do then we have to have a full vote of all 2,500 plus delegates on whether to accept that minority report," Duprey explained.

"We need to be on guard and on duty it’s going to be long day," he added.

Commission to study primary calendar

Also coming up for a vote by the entire convention on Monday will be the proposal the majority of the Rules Committee voted for: a party commission to study the presidential nominating calendar for 2020.

The 11-member commission would start meeting no later than June 30 of next year and it would make its recommendations to the RNC by May 31, 2018. Whatever the panel recommends would need the support of three-quarters of the 168-member RNC to be adopted as official party rules.

“There will be a commission, as we’ve had in 2008 and 2012, after those elections, to study the primary system and the calendar, to see if we can tweak it. But we avoided any outright assaults. I was happily pleased that no one put in any rules to directly get rid of us or to set some bar from meeting RNC rules, so it was a great night, Duprey told NH1 News on Friday morning, hours after the Rules Committee ended a marathon Thursday session.

Even if New Hampshire and the other early voting states clear Monday’s final hurdles, as expected, the fight will resume again next year.

“It’s a long constant slow effort. We’ll keep right on doing it,” Duprey said.

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