A panel of the Republican National Committee, meeting in San Diego, began hearings Friday evaluating the sequence of contests, although a recommendation is not expected from the group until next year.

Under an RNC change last year, most states are barred from holding primaries before the first Tuesday in February 2012. New Hampshire and South Carolina cannot vote before the last two weeks of January 2012. The rule is silent on Iowa, though party officials expect it to kick off the selections with party caucuses in the first two weeks of January.

With those dates set, the issue is where other states eager to influence the nomination will fit in. Several plans have been proposed to rearrange the calendar, including grouping states in regions and rotating the order every four years.

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring told the panel the nation needs a presidential calendar “that looks like it was designed on purpose, which currently is not the case.”