GOP Candidates Propose Minimizing RNC Involvement In Debate Process

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

During a meeting near Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening, representatives from numerous Republican presidential campaigns agreed that the Republican National Committee’s involvement in debate process should be minimized, allowing campaigns to work with television networks directly, according to numerous reports.

Campaigns produced a list of demands for future debates including 30-second opening and closing statements, “parity and integrity” on questions, nixing lightning rounds, and pre-approval of graphics used during the debate, according to the New York Times.

The campaigns did not come to a concrete conclusion about removing the RNC from the process, according to the Times. Politico reported that candidates hope to work with the networks directly on debate formats and leave logistical discussions to the RNC.

Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, told Breitbart News that the “biggest consensus” between the campaigns was circumventing the RNC and working with the networks hosting the debates directly.

Lewandowski told the New York Times, “What we have seen is a significant lack of information from the networks, so the goal is, let’s give the campaigns as much information as possible, so they can be prepared for the debates.”

Gail Gitcho, a spokesperson for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign, told Politico that “campaigns will now assume negotiation of format instead of the RNC.”

The campaigns met in response to last week’s CNBC Republican presidential debate, which many candidates declared was a disaster. Ben Carson’s campaign organized at least 11 campaigns to discuss potential changes at a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, according to the Washington Post.

The candidates plan on sending a letter to the RNC this week outlining their proposed changes. The Washington Post obtained a draft of the letter written by Republican consultant Ben Ginsberg. Candidates indicated that the draft was not final or strong enough yet.

According to the Politico, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign wanted the RNC to reinstate Telemundo’s involvement in the February debate, even if NBC News’ partnership remains suspended. However, Trump’s campaign threatened to boycott a debate with Telemundo moderators.

Candidates who have been relegated to the undercard debates called for two debates with an equal number of candidates randomly chosen, according to the Post.

Campaigns will propose changes to future debates this week, but the Washington Post reported that any changes will go into effect after the upcoming Fox Business Network debate because “people are afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad.”

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: