The Republican National Committee voted Friday to exert stronger control over the 2016 presidential primary debate process, acting on concerns that the lengthy and fractious 2012 debate process damaged eventual presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
On Thursday, the RNC rules panel approved the creation of a committee, comprised of 13 people, that would limit the total number of debates and determine who would serve as debate moderators. And on Friday, during a spring meeting in Memphis, Tenn., the full committee endorsed that proposal by a vote of 152 to 7.
"Spending too much time fighting with each other distracts the party from its ultimate goal, which is winning the presidency," said rules committee chairman Bruce Ash, according to the Associated Press
In addition to limiting the number of debates, the new rules would also penalize candidates who agree to participate in forums that aren't sanctioned by the RNC by denying them the opportunity to participate in later committee-endorsed events.
Though the new rules do not specifically pick debate moderators, they do propose to give conservative journalists a bigger role in the process.