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Republicans Recommend Ending Caucuses After Romney Defeat

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A presidential candidate can't become his or her party's nominee without first battling through the brutal Iowa caucuses.

Yet, a report by the Republican National Committee on Monday recommended the party broaden its base by discouraging caucuses for the allocation of delegates.

The final page of the 97-page "Growth and Opportunity Project" suggests changes to shore up the lengthy nomination process, which proved a pricy hurdle for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

"The current system is a long, winding, often random road that makes little sense," the report said. "Our party needs to grow its membership, and primaries seem to be a more effective way to do so."

Interviews with many current and former Iowa Republican Party officials suggested that a switch to a primary from the caucuses isn't a welcome idea, but few appeared worried that the party would implement the change.

"The notion here, I don't think, was as much the process as it was the length of the nomination calendar," said John Stineman, former Iowa caucus campaign manager for Steve Forbes' 2000 race. Stineman said he's confident the report actually confirmed the national party's support of Iowa beginning the nomination process and in its traditional caucus form.

That confidence comes from a line in the report that said: "Recognizing the traditions of several states that have early nominating contests, the newly organized primaries would begin only after the 'carve-out' states have held their individual elections."

Iowa Republican Party Chairman A.J. Spiker said "carve out" states appear to be well-protected in the new report, but also said a move toward more primaries and a shorter nomination schedule could hurt the process.

"By diminishing or taking away a caucus, you run the risk of injecting too much of an uneducated primary voter and creating the potential for Super PACs to pick who the nominee of the GOP is, going forward," Spiker said. "I think the big thing, though, is a primary system that shrinks the calendar will benefit the best-funded candidate, and there will be repercussions that could be potentially harmful."

Political purists alarmed by the report may find solace in the fact that some of Iowa's Republicans were unaware of the proposal to push for more primary elections.

"I'd like to see the report before I really make a formal comment," said Judy Davidson, chairwoman of the Scott County Republican Party.

The GOP's proposals may be targeting other states that hold caucuses and conventions that haven't run as smoothly as Iowa's.

Republican officials generally viewed caucus turnout in January 2012 as very good, despite the fact that the early part of the GOP race didn't offer a likable candidate to all people.