Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Convention or Primary in the 5th Congressional District?

This Saturday the Republican 5th District Congressional Committee will decide whether to use a primary or convention to nominate their candidate for congress. (Due to recent party plan amendments a canvass could be used, but there seems to be little desire by members of the committee for it.) In Virginia this question is even more important because we have no party registration, and all our primaries are open.

Earlier an article was posted on this blog by one of the conventions biggest advocates in the state party David C. Ray (State Central Member from the 10th District). It makes the best most thorough case for conventions, and should read by all members of the 5th District Committee before Saturdays vote.

There are two reasons why I think a convention is particularly important in this case.

1. It allows the party to choose its own nominee.

In the 5th District the Democrats already have their nominee, and Tom Periello is highly unlikely to draw a primary opponent. There is a long history of partisans on both sides voting in the other sides primary, and with the Democrats not having to hold a primary the chance of Democrats helping decide the Republicans nominee is very high. If the person who runs against Tom Periello will really be the Republican nominee he must be chosen by Republicans.

2. It will make sure the nominee to receive over 50% of the vote.

In the 5th District there are about 7 republicans running for the Republican nomination. While some people do receive more than 50% in a three way race (Steve Hunt in the 37th Senate District) it is very difficult for a candidate to top 50% when more than five candidates are involved. The nominee could easily win in a primary with only 30% of the vote. Will the party really be able to unite behind someone if one third or less of the party nominates him? With a convention 50% +1 of the convention is required for a candidate to win. This helps make sure that the eventual nominee is someone a majority of the activists are at lease somewhat happy with.

This Saturday I hope the 5th District Committee chooses to nominate its candidate through a convention. I have had no time to look at all the candidates to see who a convention would help or hurt, I generally believe that a convention is the best way for Republicans to nominate their candidates.

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