A week after the March 3 Democratic presidential primary I was sick, probably with a cold but I had to wonder. No fever developed and patent medicines got me through. But it could have been COVID-19 after checking in hundreds of voters in the Maple Street Firehouse.
There is no way I’m repeating that activity on June 9. Thank you, Governor Ralph Northam, for saving me from having to abandon the other nice folks who work that precinct. Even if we are on the infection down slope, holding a primary that day is a risk we don’t need to impose on those volunteers.
Republican officials exploded when the stay at home directive was advanced to June 10. A statement released by the Republican Party of Virginia whined:
“… the timeline seems all too convenient,” said RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. “We ask that Governor Northam show us the data that led to his decision. It is not our opinion that the Governor is purposefully engaging in voter suppression, but an explanation would help to mitigate any concerns.”
Did my statement mitigate your concerns, Jack? I bet thousands of poll workers feel the same way.
Let’s drop the debate over which elected official or cabinet agency is more hapless and focus on some truly clueless people – this state’s all but dead Republican Party. Yesterday the state party certified three candidates to run June 9 seeking the nomination against Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia. Don’t look at the story yet, can you name one of them? I cannot. And I would love to see somebody give Warner a race. People forget how close Ed Gillespie came to beating Mark-not-John six years ago.
Faced with the virus crisis, the party has plenty of options and with some leadership they could be put in place. First and foremost is a delay into late summer. In 1991, following that year’s redistricting and the subsequent Department of Justice challenges, the nominating deadline was moved to around Labor Day. The GOP then went on to major legislative gains in November, and I became a believer in late primaries. The June to Labor Day lull allows interest to lag.
Somewhere in the pile of bills on the Governor’s desk must be a vehicle for moving the nomination deadlines for the November elections, with an amendment that could be approved at the veto session April 22. Both parties might want the breathing space, pardon the pun.
Another option is just to conduct the primary via mail ballots, and the Governor has already opened up that avenue by stating that anybody can claim “illness” as the reason for voting absentee, even if it really means “concern about illness.” If that is what happens, I’ll do it, but again, who has any idea who these people are? They don’t have real campaigns to introduce themselves. It’s pathetic.
One of the reasons the state party is stuck is it is flat broke, with a donor base disgusted by its mismanagement and failure. A state-run primary comes at taxpayer expense. It would be the City of Richmond paying me the lavish sum of $135 or so to sit there all day. A party-run nomination process must be paid for with party funds. December 31 cash on hand at RPV? $2,748, says VPAP.
Many of the various nominations are being done by party convention processes, funded by filing fees. One of the major contests is among those seeking to oppose Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger here in the 7th District. Again, the candidates might appreciate a delay in that process and when the contest resumes, voters might actually be able to pay attention to it. Winning the nomination closer to the November election will put the GOP candidate in a far stronger position, in my opinion (but what do I know about politics?).
I’ve thought about getting involved again. A legislator I liked when he served, Richard Anderson of Prince William County, is fighting to turn out RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. But the state party’s internal processes are balkanized, complicated, intentionally designed to discourage broad participation. It was incumbent on me to negotiate the maze, having just moved to a new locality and congressional district. But just like I’m not sitting all day in a polling place any time soon, neither am I walking into a packed convention hall.
The state party’s statewide convention is still officially set for May 1-2 in Richmond, but that isn’t going to happen. The rumor is they are looking at June 25-26 instead, which might be late enough (but might not after all). That’s where the new chairman is picked, and the delegates to the national convention. There’s no harm in moving that, either.
The threat of COVID is worst for those with underlying conditions that have left them weakened. RPV needs to be careful it doesn’t succumb along with the smokers, diabetics and lung cancer survivors.There are currently no comments highlighted.