Here is a comparison of the Pros and Cons of a Presidential Primary and Presidential Convention in Virginia.[read_more]
I think you’ll agree from a Conservative Republican perspective – or even just a Republican perspective — a Presidential Convention is a “no-brainer” for the State Central Committee to vote for June 27th.
Returning to a Presidential Convention, which we had with great success in the years before 2000, affords far greater advantages for us toward turning Virginia red again in 2016.
And a large Presidential Convention would build excitement in VA like we’ve not seen in a long time. We can’t afford to miss this unique opportunity.
The Republican Party of Virginia will be holding Conventions next year to elect our delegates anyway. The question the RPV State Central Committee will be deciding on June 27 is how to bind those delegates (i.e., by a state-run open primary, or by a party-run Convention). I encourage you to contact your member of the State Central Committee right away (http://www.virginia.gop/state-central-committee/) and encourage them to vote for binding our delegates at the 2016 Convention.
Here are some of the reasons why that’s the right call:
|Presidential Primary||Presidential Convention|
|1||New Activists for RPV||ZERO||~ 25,000 +|
|2||Estimated Revenue for RPV (with or without mandatory delegate fees)||$0||$500,000 – $1,000,000|
|3||Updated Republican Primary Voter List||YES||NO|
|4||Convention Arrangements/Facilities Expenses Required?||YES||YES|
|5||Petition Requirement on Candidates||5,000||NONE|
|6||Potential some Candidates not getting on ballot, like 2012||HIGH||LOW|
|7||Fee to GOP for Candidates to appear on ballot||$0||$25,000 (suggested)|
|8||Likelihood of Presidential Candidate Appearances in VA||LOW/Limited||HIGH|
|9||Instant Run-off Capability / Consensus winner||NO||YES|
|10||Potential for Conservative Vote-Split among lots of Conservative Candidates||GUARANTEED||ZERO|
|11||Potential for inconclusive results / no clear winner from Virginia||VERY-HIGH||ZERO|
|12||Potential for Democrat/Non-GOP Crossover||VERY-HIGH||ZERO/Very Limited|
|13||National Media Attention on VA||LOW/Limited||HIGH|
|14||Cost to Taxpayers||~$4,000,000||$ZERO|
- The Virginia GOP has never had a full and accurate census of our activist base. This year, when interest is heightened, we will draw unprecedented participation in our mass meetings and in elections to become delegates to the district, state, and national conventions. By utilizing a central online registration tool, and central collection of local registrations, our party will finally be able to capture and harness the tens of thousands of activists and concerned citizens at the mass meeting, district convention, and state convention level whose work and dedication will carry us to victory in 2016.
- Our Party benefits tremendously from the activity around Conventions, including financially. Conservative estimates, even without charging mandatory fees, suggest that RPV could become fiscally independent for the next few years by adopting a Convention, instead of being held hostage to self-interested lobbyists and consultants as the Party has for several years. RPV could finally be free to truly fulfill its purpose.
- Although a state-run open primary would definitely draw greater total numbers of people, and thus provide updated data for use in the general election, that data will undoubtedly be tainted and not as useful as some suspect. When the Democrats don’t have a meaningful contest of their own, many of them will be drawn to the GOP primary, thus polluting our data and ultimately wasting significant campaign resources trying to reach people who have no intention of voting for our candidate in the fall. Better to go with the data discussed in Item 1.
- Under RPV rules, we already have to hold district and state conventions in 2016 to elect our state chairman and members of the State Central Committee, and so we are already on the hook for that regardless of how we choose to bind our delegates. There is thus very little marginal cost to a presidential convention, and a whole lot of financial upside. See Item 2.
- In 2012, only two presidential candidates made it on the primary ballot due to Virginia’s onerous ballot access rules (the most onerous in the country). A convention, where a candidate simply pays a filing fee instead of paying dozens of petition gatherers (and, like last time, lawyers) for weeks and weeks, makes it much easier for all candidates to make it onto the ballot.
- See Item 5.
- A primary does nothing for the Party financially, but will drain upwards of $4 million from state and local coffers. A convention allows the Party to charge candidates for the privilege of carrying the Republican standard, directly benefiting all Republicans while simultaneously practicing what we preach about fiscal responsibility and smaller government.
- A March 1 primary in Virginia means we’d hardly see the candidates, who instead would visit us only via endless television commercials, and focus on larger Super Tuesday prizes. A March 19 convention, on the other hand, would put Virginia squarely in the spotlight, and would incentivize the candidates to organize a ground game with significant attention and organizational work beginning in January. We would be able to harness the energy around a presidential campaign to build our party from the grassroots up.
- Under Virginia law, a presidential primary binds all of Virginia’s delegates to the candidate with the most votes. For example, Jeb Bush could win with just 22% of the vote, but he’d get all of Virginia’s delegates. But, even if it were proportional (per RNC’s rules, which would likely control in this situation), we’re looking at a situation in which no candidate could expect to gain a significant number of delegate votes. In a convention, though, we can institute instant-runoff voting to both avoid the lengthy process of multiple ballots and to ensure that the eventual winner of all of Virginia’s delegate votes is someone who can get the support of at least 50% of the elected representatives of Virginia Republicans.
- Further to Item 9, a winner-take-all 50% threshold at a convention ensures no splitting of the conservative vote to benefit the candidate that most conservative Republicans wouldn’t vote for.
- See Items 9 and 10.
- Further to Item 3, in a year where Democrats likely won’t have an meaningful or compelling choice on their primary ballot, and when there is as much of a contest as we’re seeing on the Republican side, you can bet that many Democrats will take advantage of the open nature of a primary and do what they can to alter the results in a way best perceived to advantage Hillary Clinton. While it isn’t impossible for a few Democrats to infiltrate a Republican convention, it is definitely harder and much less likely.
- A March 1 state-run open primary means we’d be just one of many Super Tuesday states, meaning Virginia wouldn’t figure large in either the candidates’ or the media’s attention. A March 19 convention would be just the opposite.
- Do we believe in fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint, or don’t we? For Republicans who adhere to the Creed, the choice is clear.