This Saturday, the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee will be voting on the method of nomination for 2018 United States Senate election. Per usual, the pro-convention side is beginning to beat the war drums for a convention.
However, Virginia Republicans must choose a primary to encourage participation amongst ALL Virginia Republicans, preserve party funds, and to protect us from fringe candidates who would destroy our party’s chance to gain a seat in the U.S. Senate.
It just makes more sense to hold a primary because more people can participate. Voters don’t have to travel 5+ hours (if you’re going from Lee County to Richmond it’s more like eight hours) to get to a convention hall.
Republicans of all shapes and sizes and political persuasions can participate. Members of the military, the elderly, those who work out of town, and those who are on vacation have more of a chance to participate in a primary. Everyone is given a chance to vote when a primary is chosen.
Conventions are expensive, not only for the attendees who have to spend money on food, gas, and hotel rooms, but also for the party itself. I don’t even want to imagine how much it costs to rent the Richmond Coliseum for a weekend. We need to preserve RPV funds if we are going to retire Tim Kaine from the U.S. Senate.
We also have to choose a primary to protect the party from the fringe candidates that conventions are likely to produce. Harkening back to last week’s primary, I fully believe that Corey Stewart would have beaten Ed Gillespie in a convention. Or even worse, a convention could nominate the completely unelectable (and downright horrid) Laura Ingraham.
Also, think about the PR nightmare that these convention candidates could cause. What if Stewart goes on this wild rage for the Confederacy again (if he runs for U.S. Senate)? It could result in a convention hall full of Confederate flags and gray uniforms. It would look like the Battle of Gettysburg was occurring in the middle of the Richmond Coliseum. Not even Olivia Pope herself could spin that PR nightmare.
Before the other side loses their minds, I do want to point out that it is true that sometimes primaries produce terrible candidates (Dave Brat) and sometimes conventions produce good candidates (Ed Gillespie). However, we cannot risk nominating another E.W. Jackson-esque candidate. Simply put, we would lose.
The United States Senate election of 2018 will decide the direction of our country for years to come. I trust the Republican Primary voters in Virginia to choose an electable nominee.