On Saturday, June 27th, the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia will meet in Staunton to decide how its candidate for President in 2016 will be nominated. The outcome of that meeting will largely influence who the candidate will be.
Let’s begin by looking at Virginia’s election laws and the two options that the Republican Party will consider.
Virginia Election Law is a collection of statutes which are designed to give political advantage to incumbents and special treatment to establishment candidates. The members of the General Assembly have crafted a package of election laws that is among the most corrupt in the country.
When the State Central Committee (SCC) of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) gathers in Staunton, it will choose between two methods of nominating its Presidential candidate, an Open Primary or a Republican Convention.
In Virginia, a Closed Primary is not a legal option.
An Open Primary allows all registered voters to vote for the candidates in that Primary. As we have just observed in the Open Primary to select the Republican candidate for State Senator in our Senate District, one candidate ran radio ads, asking all registered voters to vote for him – Independents, Democrats and Republicans.
Grassroots Republicans are appalled that non-Republicans participate in an Open Primary to choose a Republican leader. Kiwanis get to choose their leaders, Garden Clubs get to choose their leaders and Churches get to choose their leaders. But in Virginia’s Open Primaries, non-Republicans get to decide who will be a Republican leader.
Even liberal States like Maryland, New York, California and Massachusetts do not permit Open Primaries. But Virginia does.
Here is the practical effect. In 2012, there was a large field of Republican candidates for President. The RPV chose an Open Primary. To qualify for the Primary ballot, candidates had to secure 10,000 valid signatures of registered voters, with 400 signatures from each of the 11 Congressional Districts.
Only 2 candidates qualified, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Romney hired a company to circulate his petitions and collect the signatures. The cost was enormous, but Romney had the resources.
Ron Paul had a grassroots legion of Libertarian supporters who fanned out across Virginia and gathered his necessary signatures. None of the other candidates could match Romney’s money or Paul’s legion.
The second option for the RPV is a Republican Convention.
Grassroots Republicans universally prefer Republican Conventions because nearly everyone who attends such a Convention is a Republican.
Should the State Central Committee call for a Convention, delegates would be elected in the City and County Republican Committees. In Waynesboro, I would announce that a Mass Meeting would be held for the purpose of electing Convention delegates.
Those who were interested in being elected delegates would attend the Mass Meeting, sign an affidavit affirming their support for the Republican Party and then stand for election. Persons who were involved with other parties would need to renounce in writing their prior political affiliations.
If a Convention is held, it would draw approximately 15,000 delegates and fill one of the largest arenas in the State, either the Convention Center in Richmond or the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville.
The nomination method will likely determine who will be Virginia’s Republican Presidential candidate. Supporters of liberal candidates are lobbying for an Open Primary, while proponents of conservative candidates are seeking a Republican Convention.
On June 27th, we will know the decision. Open Primary or Republican Convention.
It is my earnest hope that in early 2016, I will see many of you at Waynesboro’s Mass Meeting to elect Convention delegates.
Ken Adams is the Chairman of the Waynesboro Virginia Republican Committee.