At this thread at Political Animal on aspects of our Presidential primary system, commenter C (C@yahoo.com? Oh, I think not) has an interesting suggestion:
Maybe you could have a system where the states most narrowly lost in the last election went first in the primaries? Ohio, then Iowa? New Mexico?
I don't know if it's a good idea, but as a proposed modification in the interest of balancing a game, it's got some pizzazz. On the other hand, if the goal of a party is to win a close state, does finding someone who can win any particular primary -- supposedly dominated by voters more liberal/conservative (as appropriate) than the general electorate -- help at all?