RPV State Central: Primary or Convention in 2012?

Well, I guess this settles whether George Allen is running for Senate….

Conservatives within the Republican Party of Virginia have long sought conventions as a method of nomination. Establishment GOP types favor primaries for a number of reasons: they build a statewide presence, conventions can be hijacked, and most importantly is that primaries are cost-prohibitive.  Smaller fish simply can’t swim with the big ones.

Which is why this evening’s e-mail from former 1st District GOP Chairman Russ Moulton is interesting:

Dear State Central Member,

My name is Russ Moulton, a long-time conservative Republican Party activist, and former 1st District GOP Chairman. I was George Allen’s Fredericksburg Area Coordinator for his successful 1993 Convention campaign for our Gubernatorial Nomination, and was a delegate for Bob Marshall’s unsuccessful US Senate nomination bid at the 2008 Convention. I have not committed to either candidate in the upcoming 2012 Senate nomination contest, and, who knows, we may see additional candidates emerge. It is still quite early.

I am alarmed at what I have learned is happening in advance of the November 20th State Central Committee meeting:

— A few SCC members aligned with one candidate (George Allen) are rushing the SCC to vote Novembers 20th on the method of nomination for 2012 – when most members believed this vote would occur in March or even June 2011, after all nomination method options had been explored, party plan amendments decided, and full information gathered, and deliberated.

— George Allen and Vice Chairman Mike Thomas have been calling State Central Members quietly to lobby them to vote for a Primary at the Nov 20th meeting. While I like and deeply respect Mike, he is a well-known Allen-booster. Word is they have already “lined up their votes” and a Primary is a “fait accompli” – without the direct, open deliberation of Party leaders.

As you are probably aware, it is universally accepted that a Primary works to the great advantage of one candidate (George Allen), and thus why he would ask SCC to give him a Primary.

This sort of Party establishment favoritism, back-room dealing and manipulation is precisely the sort of thing the Tea Party rails against. They are tired of the status quo in our politics.

The Tea Party is already disappointed with our Party for the big domestic spending during the Bush years, and by association, George’s time in the Senate during those years. We do not need to hurt George with the Tea Party by furthering his perception as the establishment candidate, with Party insiders handing him the nomination via a Primary.

In fact, I understand that several Tea Party leaders at the recent Tea Party Convention in Richmond let George know in no uncertain terms their desire for a Convention for 2012.

Our State Central Committee is elected by the grass-roots of our Party, which includes the Tea Party. Let’s not rush a vote on a 2012 method of nomination at the Nov 20th State Central meeting. Let’s get our input from the grass roots that elected us — not react and rush things in response to a request by one candidate. Let’s defer this vote until we’ve properly considered everything, perhaps deciding at the March or June 2011 meeting.

Best regards,

Russ Moulton

Draw your own conclusions, but (1) there’s no question George Allen is running for U.S. Senate now, and (2) conservatives are about to see a hard fought win for conventions as a nomination method tossed aside in favor of a 2012 primary during the Advance.

Now perhaps Allen would win either a primary or convention nomination handily given a generic GOP opponent, but there’s no question that a primary in 2012 benefits George Allen in a huge, huge way — leaving only a handful of GOP public figures even remotely possible as challengers.

Thoughts?