Des Moines Register: GOP primary plan puts Iowa back in with the pack
WASHINGTON (Des Moines Register) -- A Republican commission recommended Tuesday a new plan for the presidential nominating process that puts small states first -- but leaves up in the air the roles of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The commission, headed by former Sen. Bill Brock, said that too many states are jockeying to be first and that media and money have too much influence.
"Today, too many people in too many states have no voice in the election process," Brock said at a Republican National Committee news conference.
Under the "Delaware Plan," states would be sorted into four groups according to population, with the smallest states in the first group and the largest states last. Elections would be held 30 days apart, beginning the first Tuesday in March.
New Hampshire's primary would be in the first group, while Iowa's caucuses would be in the second.
Republican rules do not guarantee Iowa's and New Hampshire's first status, so those states were included in the pods. But the commission "is of the view that the Delaware Plan could work just as easily if Iowa and New Hampshire were awarded such status and placed before all other states," the report says.
Steve Roberts, a member of the Republican National Committee from Iowa, said there is "fair support" on the Rules Committee and at the national committee level for keeping Iowa and New Hampshire first. State GOP Chairman Kayne Robinson said he could support the Delaware Plan so long as Iowa and New Hampshire remained first.
The report will be submitted to the party's rules committee. It also will need the approval of convention delegates and state legislatures.
The Democrats' rules committee voted Saturday to maintain the current system. Iowa Republicans would vote with "Pod 2"
Here's how states would be grouped under the "four pod" variation of the so-called Delaware Plan recommended Tuesday by a Republican commission:
POD 1: American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Guam, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Puerto Rico. Population total: 14.8 million.
POD 2: Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, West Virginia, Utah, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Connecticut, Oregon, Oklahoma, South Carolina. Population total: 33.5 million.
POD 3: Kentucky, Colorado, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona, Minnesota, Maryland, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Missouri, Washington, Indiana, Massachusetts. Population total: 64.9 million.
POD 4: Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, New York, Texas, California. Population total: 160.6 million.
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