Republican primaries in North Carolina will continue to be open to unaffiliated voters.
GOP spokesman Jordan Shaw says the party's Executive Committee overwhelmingly rejected a resolution that would only allow Republicans to choose the party's nominees.
Voters unaffiliated with a party have been helping pick who runs on the GOP ticket since 1988.
Republicans pushing the change argued party members should be the ones picking their nominees because independents are more inclined to back moderates.
But many state leaders worried changing the rules could damage Republican chances to win elections in 2010.