Friday, January 28, 2011

West Virginia Needs a Primary Election

Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee Chair Melody Potter on Facebook Tuesday endorsed a primary election to determine party nominees for governor before the special election.

I agree 100%.

Two alternatives exist. One would just be a wide open election where every contender was on the ballot at once. This opens the door for false candidates to try and siphon votes from actual ones. More likely would be a party convention where each of the three parties that generally run candidates for governor would select their nominees and put them on the ballot. However, this might reinforce the perception that West Virginia politics is basically a good ol' boy show.

A primary election is good for Republicans for a few reasons.

First, it is the more democratic way to operate. Candidacies are open and the people get to vote. That is the expectation of the voters in the 21st Century. They want to choose. Second, the race between the various GOP candidates will bring media attention to these individuals that will create name recognition for the general election. Some major candidates are better known west of the mountains and in southern West Virginia, some are better known to the east. It is important that registered Republicans and other voters across the entire state get to know all of the potential Republican candidates so that they can make an informed Republican vote in the fall.

The Republican Party is advancing a very experienced and capable set of candidates this time, most notably State Senator Clark Barnes and former Secretary of State Betty Ireland. Both of these candidates are exceptional campaigners, so a primary election plays to both of their strengths.

A primary election can help our party build a case for its nominee in the general election.

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