Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 13, 2012

The RPV Convention Conniption Fit

State convention for Republican Party of Virginia – Saturday, June 16th 2012

The career politicians, Establishment Republicans, crushed their Tea Party and assorted challengers in the primaries for public office.  So, I’ll have to control my gag reflex when the speakers blather about Romney, George Allen gives his ‘aw shucks’ speech, or the other career milquetoasts mouth their rah-rah Republicanism.  I’ll cheer when Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks.  There shouldn’t be too much drama at this RPV Convention.  A Tea Party lady, Donna Holt, is challenging for the National Committeewoman seat.

And some Constitutional Conservatives picked up Party offices across the Commonwealth.  One piece of good news.

The issue of reversing the State Central Committee’s vote to have a primary in 2013 and go for a convention may get to the floor.  Dunno if it will or will not pass.

Here are 10 reasons thrown over the transom to vote for a convention.

  1. Primaries allow large numbers of Democrats and other non-Republicans to select our nominees.  How is it fair to allow liberal Democrats to cancel-out the votes of hard-working, principled, loyal conservative Republicans, including our  Republican veterans, military retirees and reservists, effectively disenfranchising them? Only those who want to “water down” our nomination contests and invite Democrats want Primaries. Open primaries violate our fundamental Constitutional right of Free Association. The Rotary Club doesn’t allow the Kiwanis Club to vote for the Rotary Club President.  Why should we? Why should we allow Democrats to select OUR GOP nominee?
  2. Statewide primaries cost the taxpayers ~$3M each. Why should the taxpayers be covering a political party’s nomination process? In these days of runaway spending, debt and being “Taxed Enough Already”, shouldn’t we make political parties pay for their own nomination processes?
  3. Primaries tend to leave our Nominee broke and wounded with the General Electorate. In Conventions, the campaigning and advertising is generally restricted to Republicans-only (usually Delegates only). Statewide Primary campaigns advertise to the GENERAL PUBLIC, where independents see all the “mud”  thrown back and forth between candidates at each other (VA lacks party  registration, so you can’t be sure you are targeting Republicans only!)  The candidates spend millions of dollars, frequently hurting the eventual  winner with Independents. Conventions allow us to avoid the “bloodbath” and let our eventual Nominee hold back critical millions in campaign dollars to use in the General Election – against Democrats.  History bears this out.  We’ve lost the General Elections for Governor where we had contested primaries for the nominations.  By contrast, 5 of the 6 GOP Governors  since Reconstruction were nominated by Conventions, and the only one who wasn’t, Jim Gilmore in 97, was uncontested.
  4. Consultants are the big beneficiary of Primaries. They want them and lobby their candidates and SCC for them because they make big bucks off of them.  Typical advertising fees for consultants are 15% of the ad-buys on TV, radio and direct mail. Let’s say a state-wide candidate spends $2M on ad buys. The consultant makes $300,000. The same consultant would be lucky to make $50,000 in a Convention. We have actually had consultants who stand to gain financially from SCC selecting a Primary HOLD PROXIES at SCC  and argue and vote for Primaries. Talk about conflict of interest! We regularly have these same consultants LOBBY SCC MEMBERS TO PICK THE PRIMARIES TO LINE THEIR POCKETS. Just say NO to consultants. Pick a Convention.
  5. Primaries favor those that already have large warchests and fundraising apparatus, and high name ID.      Those candidates tend to be “establishment” types – the SAME ones that got our GOP in trouble in the first place and gave rise to the TEA Party.  Great grass-roots candidates just getting started have a much higher hill to climb in a Primary. But Conventions allow great candidates just starting out in fundraising and name ID to have a fairer playing field.
  6. Conventions allow us to agree on a nominee with a MAJORITY vote to nominate. Many good conservatives can run without fear that the lone establishment candidate will win by plurality. Primaries are PLURALITY win, where a majority of the Republicans may not be happy with our nominee, or even outright opposed to the Primary selection. Frequently, many good conservatives run in a primary, splitting the conservative vote, and allowing the establishment candidate to win with a mere plurality.
  7. Conventions energize our activist volunteer base, and give us a ground army to win elections. Our conservative activists (ie. pro-lifers, 2nd amendment advocates, anti-taxers, traditional values coalition, Tea Party and Ron Paul activists, etc) benefit by Conventions, because their sheer numbers in a Convention tend to out-weigh the more liberal participants, and we tend to get nominees more reflective of our Party’s principles.
  8. Conventions allow the grass-roots to better hold our Nominees accountable. For example, US Senate candidates nominated by Convention must come back to the SCC to select their method of re-nomination. If SCC gives them a Primary, the SCC cedes forever to that candidate its right to pick the method of re-nomination, abdicating its authority. If that US Senator (like John Warner)starts voting badly (againstJudge Robert Bork, etc) – they merely select the Primary, which is open to Democrats and Independents, and appeal to those Democrats and Independents to “save them” from those angry Republicans.   Warner got SCC to pick a Primary for his nomination method, and after he  torpedoed Bork, he was able to select the Primary for re-nomination. Good numbers of Democrats and Independents – along with his enormous fundraising advantage of incumbency — saved him from his Republican challenger in the Primary. The grass-roots of the Party was thus unable to hold him accountable. It is widely believed Warner would have lost a Convention to a grass-roots backed challenger due to the outrage from rank-and-file Republicans.
  9. Former Gov George Allen, former Governor Jim Gilmore, and current Gov Bob McDonnell were ALL nominated by Conventions for their first statewide offices. Allen was nominated for Governor by a Convention in 93. Gilmore was nominated for Attorney General in 93. McDonnell was nominated in 2009 by Convention.  Former Gov Jim Gilmore was nominated in a convention for US Senate in 2008. In those years, all of them sought the Convention as the method of nomination by the State Central Committee, and no one complained. All were/have been very successful statewide office holders. Were Allen, Gilmore, and McDonnell all somehow wrong for advocating for Conventions back then? Were they “disenfranchising” people for advocating Conventions?  It sounds more like campaigns that think they have an advantage in a Primary are pushing these trumped-up political arguments against Conventions.
  10. Conventions best reflect our representative form of Government. For Conventions, we elect Delegates to represent large blocks of Republicans from various districts (counties/cities), just as we elect representatives to represent large blocks of voters. A very large number of these Convention Delegates are veterans, small business owners, pro-lifers, smaller-government folks, champions of the Constitution and liberty, traditional values folks, etc …   They represent well the interests of our military, the unborn, large families, small businesses, gun-owners, children, etc …, just as a      Congressman or Delegate or State Senator represents the interests of his/her constituencies. Do we complain when voters don’t get to come in and directly vote for Speaker of the House, or vote directly on a piece of legislation? Of course not. Only Democrats and the otherwise uneducated believe we are in a pure democracy where everyone votes on everything directly, as in a referendum.

So, there you have it.  Maybe a floor fight on primary vs convention for next year.  Bill Bolling wants a primary and Ken Cuccinelli wants a convention.

See you in Richmond, Virginia.



  1. Great post, James!

  2. Reblogged this on Citizen Tom.

  3. Thanks, Jim. I couldn’t agree more.

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