RNC Cap On 2016 Debates Could Give Rise To ‘New Round Of Sideshows’

The Republican National Committee’s push to limit the number of debates in the 2016 presidential primary could end up creating an arms race of sorts, with groups denied the chance to hold “official” debates instead hosting candidate forums that would serve much the same purpose.

Even as groups ponder how to handle the RNC’s new dictate, which will be formalized in the coming weeks, potential candidates say they’re open to participating in forums outside of the officially sanctioned debates, saying they are crucial to giving voters the chance to test their would-be nominees.

Some Republicans, especially in the party’s senior ranks, though, felt there were too many debates — intraparty clashes that diluted the party’s message and weakened eventual nominee Mitt Romney’s hand as he headed into the general election against President Obama.

The RNC is pushing to limit the number of debates.

Some RNC members said the challenge now will be for the party to figure out what constitutes an unsanctioned debate.

“As much as the Republican Party, rightfully so, wants to control the debates, the reality is that the networks have the upper hand, because a lot of candidates will want to boost up their name ID and be in everybody’s living rooms,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist. “By trying to basically control the debate process, they could be giving rise to a new round of sideshows.”

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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