Susan Walsh, Associated Press
This Jan. 24, 2014 file photo shows Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus standing on stage at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington.

CORONADO, Calif. — The Republican National Committee has finalized the dates for its next presidential nominating convention.

The GOP's 2016 convention will take place July 18 to 21 in Cleveland, committee chairman Reince Priebus announced Wednesday.

The midsummer gathering is more than a month before the GOP traditionally hosts its national convention. Priebus says the shift will give the next Republican presidential nominee an advantage in the 2016 general election.

Specifically, the change allows the party's next presidential contender to access millions of general election dollars sooner.

The announcement comes as the RNC hosts its winter meeting near San Diego.

More than a dozen high-profile Republicans are weighing presidential bids. The list includes the party's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, who is set to address the winter meeting Friday.