The “Bolling Bill” to Eliminate Conventions: HB 2208 and SB 1260

Slithering around the General Assembly are two companion bills — HB 2208 and SB 1260 — eliminating conventions in favor of primaries under the cloak of protecting the military vote:

Party nominating methods. Provides that no political party shall determine its candidates for statewide or General Assembly district office, the U.S. House of Representatives, or the U.S. Senate by a method that has the practical effect of excluding participation in the nominating process by active duty military personnel and military reservists or by individuals who are unable to attend meetings because of military service-related injuries, regardless of their duty station or location.


How’s about this?  We’ll consent to our method of nominations being primaries when the General Assembly swallows the political consequences of closing the primaries and preventing non-Republicans from determining our nominees.

May I remind folks that we have a constitutional right of free association.  Republicans have the right to choose Republican nominees — free of interference from the outside world.  Conventions help us protect this right… especially since Virginia’s open primary system tramples upon this right time and time again.

Now perhaps Cosgrove is trying to backdoor closed primaries by eliminating certain methods of nomination?  Perhaps… but that would be backpedaling to the highest degree.

We all know what and who this is about.

Conservatives within the Republican Party need to kill the “Bolling Bill” and send a direct message back to the establishment hacks trying to enforce party discipline thru law.  If this is the final recourse Republican moderates have, then it will only reinforce what most conservatives already know — the big tent only works when the establishment goons are the ringleaders, and all talk of coalitions and working together is just that — talk.

Kill HB 2208 and SB 1260.

Kill it to death.

Common sense needs to win a round this week, guys.  We’re all watching and hoping…

  • EricMcGrane

    Its good to see acknowledgement of the idea of “establishment” within the pages of Bearing Drift. This concept continues to mystify folks, so this could be instructive, and is generally helpful. It is sincerely appreciated.

    I imagine that as time passes, the assaults will become more frequent and overt.

  • To my knowledge you can’t even register as a republican in virginia. Doesn’t that make a primary automatically open to both parties?

    • MD Russ

      Yes. And as long as we have a two-party system in this country in which the majority of voters self-identify with neither party, then democracy can only be served with open primaries. The sooner that the Republicans figure that out and stop nominating their candidates in smoke-filled rooms, eh I mean in conventions, then the sooner that Republicans will be able to re-claim Virginia as a Red State. T-Mac is on his way to being the next Virginia Governor and it has absolutely nothing to do with Bill Bolling and everything to do with the RPVA and their nonsense.

      • McDonnell: 59
        Deeds: 41

        • Nathan Miller

          Even attempting to compare to Cooch to McDonnell is laughable.

          • Oh, so it’s the candidate who matters, not the method of his/her nomination? Would someone please inform Mr. Russ?

          • MD Russ

            Mr. Gilleran,

            A candidate selected by a primary usually, but not always, has a better chance of getting independent moderate voters than one selected by a convention. Conventions tend to pick the more ideological candidate, left or right, while open primaries tend to pick the more centrist candidates. Additionally, a primary campaign exposes a candidate to state-wide recognition while a convention candidate may be known mostly to party regulars.

            I realize that this is objectionable to party dogmatics who want to ensure that “their” candidate is ideologically pure, but it comes down to the old question of whether you want to win or be pure. When the largest block of voters self-identify with neither the Republicans nor the Democrats then you cannot win elections with only the support of your own party base.

          • Except it isn’t funny.

      • MD. We totally agree!

      • So, we can make it a red state by allowing democrats to choose our nominee? Eh, no.

  • Lovettsville Lady

    Will Bolling stop at nothing to get back at Cuccinelli and his supporters? He’s embarrassing himself. He needs to STOP now.

  • The really disturbing part here is that they’re hanging it on our military men and women. While I’m sure some are sincere in their preference for primaries due to this concern, there’s also individuals who believe that if they shout “military” they’ll automatically get public sympathy for all they really care about, which is ending conventions. And that’s just wrong.

  • Bob Barlow

    How about a bill that says the government can’t tell private organizations how to choose their public representatives (candidates)! For that matter, any good conservative should be opposed to primaries wherein the public taxpayer is required to fund said selection process for private organizations (political parties)!!!!
    Primaries compromise political parties and render them little more than branches on the government tree.

  • We all heard about how the Romney campaign was as much about making money for the consultants/media buyers/direct mail salespeople as it was about getting Romney elected. I suspect if these bills pass and we are forced to have primary elections, those same type of folks involved in running these statewide and delegate races in Virginia stand to make a lot more money. #FollowTheMoney

  • Since Delegate Cosgrove and Senator Wagner are so fond of primaries maybe someone should oblige them?

  • Ricky Ross

    This is a tricky one. Sure there is no party registration. If there were the best option would be a closed primary. But when you refer to constitutional rights are you referring to VA or US Constitution. Because most other states do not allow state parties to select their method of nomination. There is a statewide primary day run by the Board of Elections, or SOS or whoever. In fact, outside of the presidential primaries, allowing state parties to select their own method of nomination is the exception not the rule.

  • This has nothing to do with Bolling, and everything to do with the overreach of the folks on State Central Committee who were purportedly pushing to do away with primaries for any nominating fight, not just statewide. This was a rumor roiling around last December and it’s still out there.

    Most incumbents don’t want to have to deal with the potential of a convention when they don’t need to have one. This is more about incumbents members of the GA than statewide races.

    • Brian, that rumor was either only the idea of one or two people, a guess by outsiders at what they might do next, or an accusatory rumor. I talked to multiple members of state central who pushed hard for conventions about that rumor at different times and they all had no idea where it was coming from, and denied there was any effort underway to make it happen.

      • I know, Willie, but that doesn’t mean these bills weren’t potential responses to the rumors. I know that even this SCC recognizes that conventions for everything is a truly bad idea.

        • How are they “truly bad” for anything except statewide offices? How is a convention only “good” for state nominating contests but “truly bad” for everything else. I honestly do not understand all this crap. But I do understand I won’t be able to have any say in who the GOP nominees are for state office this year. Really makes me want to support him/her in the General.

        • Reacting through legislation to rumors that the conservatives on SCC are working to eliminate primaries, when some conservatives believe those rumors were started by those who oppose conventions is very suspicious. It smells of scaring up a problem in order to push for what you wanted.

  • This bill would go into effect July 1. How does this have any impact on Bill Bolling?

  • It seems to me that parties ough to have the option to chose their method of selecting candidates, realizing that choices have consequences. It seems as if republicans in this state, having suffered a stinging defeat in the last national election, would be doing all they could to broaden their base, yet reading the posts herein, exactly the opposite is occuring. Double down is the rhetoric of the conservatives. Tone down your language, but make no fundamental change. This will all blow over. Let’s hope not; our Commonwealth cannot stand much more degradation and inattention to needs and requirements.

  • pinecone321

    It’s really pretty awful to see a Republican using an often used liberal game of identifying and isolating a particular victim, in this case the military, to hold them up as a prop in order to pass your desired legislation. If the military vote is the real issue, and them being barred from participating in a convention needs to be addressed, then perhaps someone needs to look into the fact that the Virginia Military Absentee Ballot requests were supposedly down by 92% in the 2012 election. I don’t know who made the decision, and signed the contract to hand the overseas Ballot effort over to an overseas operation, SCYTL in Spain, which is an on line, and easily hackable application. Washington itself proved that the system had been hacked into in past elections. I find it hard to believe that Virginia’s military members just decided that weren’t going to bother participating in one of the most critical elections in a very long time. I also find it interesting to note that in most polling, Romney was beating Obama by wide margins with our military voters.

    I believe there were some Republican legislators who wanted to pass legislation to close the primaries, which unfortunately was shot down by some of our most stellar (sarc) Republican legislators. Democrat cross over voting, in order to insure we get the nominees lest desirable, has become a permanent part of the liberals plans to never allow another Republican to win anything. From those perspectives, it made a convention nomination almost required.

    Bolling made his own decision to back out of the convention process, no one forced him out. If he thought he was such a great and winnable candidate, he could very easily have put his efforts into getting every delegate he possibly could in order to win the nomination. Instead he has been putting his efforts into undermining the candidate that consistently outpolled him for many months, and by wide margins. Even the current polling isn’t putting him over Cuccinelli’s numbers. He’s getting just enough support to deny the Republican the win. Bolling is taking “entitled” to a whole new level.

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