How the 2016 Republican Primary System Works

After a presidential nominating fight that many Republicans felt was too drawn out in 2012, party leaders worked to condense the process in 2016. Those changes came to fruition this month as the Republican National Committee rolled out its primary calendar and delegate allocation rules for the 2016 election.

The GOP primary season will start a month later than it did in 2012, with Iowa holding its first-in-the nation caucuses on Feb. 1 instead of Jan. 3. But the process will also end a month earlier, as the 2016 convention is set for July 18, rather than late August.

The calendar is also more delegate-heavy at the front end, as 45 percent of all the GOP delegates available will be awarded by mid-March. But in the first two weeks of March, states must award their delegates proportionally, meaning there could still be ample opportunity for multiple candidates to compete deep into the contest.

From when Iowa kicks off the nomination process to the last votes are cast on June 7, a candidate needs to secure 1,237 of the 2,472 delegates to secure the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.  Here’s a look at the rules guiding how he or she will get there: