Trailing Candidates Should Bail Out, Void Primary

By Steve Haner

More often than not, the suspense in an election is over long before the polls open. That is the case with the two primary contests which will require me to sit in a polling place all day on June 23. The expected losers should just drop out now and save us all the risk.

The precinct where I work has both a Republican and a Democratic contest scheduled, which will require my co-workers and me to be at the polling station from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m. Based on what happened in the local elections yesterday, it will mostly be voting from cars – in a location with very little parking. 

Fourth District Congressman Donald McEachin’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Cazel Levine, has mounted such a weak campaign that he (or she?) has no photo on the Virginia Public Access Project webpage and has filed no campaign finance reports. Drop out, Levine. If there is concern about COVID-19 exposure in the black community – and clearly there is – don’t ask voters in those city precincts to show up and deliver 98% votes for McEachin.

Does somebody have a phone number for this person?  Make this happen, eliminate the need for this primary.  At least cut down the crowd.

The other contest on the ballot will have thousands of poll workers all over Virginia in enclosed spaces with strangers for 15 hours. It involves the three potential Republican challengers to U.S. Senator Mark Warner.  These candidates have mounted campaigns, and do report funds raised, but the likely outcome is obvious.

Daniel Gade has raised $500,000 as of the last reporting period, with the others chiming in at $80,000 and less than $10,000 raised. Only Gade, a wounded vet, has created any public visibility. The chances that he will prevail against Warner in the fall are slim, since President Donald Trump is likely to be losing the state. But it is vital that somebody challenge Warner, preferably with enough resources to force Warner to defend his record. He is no stronger today than he was in 2014.

Of the three challengers, only Gade has any chance to accomplish that.

The other two, Alissa Baldwin and Thomas Speciale, should just hang it up and wait for another opportunity. They are forcing poll workers all over Virginia to put their health at risk in a pandemic. It would be an act of kindness and charity, not just a rational choice, to pack it in a month out and save us all the trouble.

Were it a real contest, I would not be making this request. It is not. If the threat of contracting COVID were diminished, I would not make this request. It has not. Being in enclosed spaces for hours and hours is the riskiest activity.

Most Virginia voters cannot name any of the three GOP candidates and know nothing about them. Sorry, I played this game for a living, and you two with the weakest chances are putting people at risk in a hopeless cause. You stay in and, out of loyalty, I’ll be there at the poll all day, but it isn’t necessary. Whether high or low, this risk is not necessary.

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17 responses to “Trailing Candidates Should Bail Out, Void Primary

  1. More remarkable to me were the number of GOP candidates marked “non-primary method”. 6 for GOP v 1 for the Dems

    The VA election site is worthless. Impossibly difficult to navigate.

  2. It’s official now.

    Thanks to the highly informed observations of Steve Haner, we can fairly say that today’s Virginia politics, it’s electoral processes at work in the land of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Marshall, now is functioning on the level of a Banana Republic.

    This also explains the gross dysfunction of the Virginia state government today. It too acts is acting on the level of typical Banana Republics.

  3. Interesting that in a post devoted to pointless primary elections and the covid risk from in-person voting, your solution to the problem is to recommend Virginia cancel the election, not conduct it in a safer way ( i.e., by mail – in balloting).

    • No, I recommend that trailing candidates think hard about moving forward. I only make this recommendation because clearly these are non-elections. Come November, no way out of opening the polls. I’m not a fan of mail ballots, not with our current low level of security (weakened by the end of a required witness.) The invisible candidate against McEachin certainly needs to be contacted to save some of the people from coming out. Even if I think the risk is low (and I do) zero risk is better than low risk.

      • “Quitters never win and winners never quit”
        But those who never win and never quit are idiots.

      • Steve: You speak to the issue of primary “non-elections.”

        A key question is how many direct elections between candidates nominated for office will be “non elections?” At what point is the requisite standard of Banana Republic met, meaning where faux (show) elections overwhelm a legitimate functional electoral government. I suggest we may already have crossed that threshold in Virginia.

    • Seems right to me Acbar. Given Steve’s assertion as to how “far gone” these elections are … how much fraud would be required to change the results?

      November is a different matter. Given the talk of a possible “second wave in the Fall” we’d better figure out how to vote without having to show up in person and stand in line.

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I read about the 5th Congressional District. Good vs. Riggleman. It is a drive thru convention in the church parking lot that Good attends. What about drive thru primaries? That might be fun. You could even use the old drive in theater at Bellwood. I miss the Super 29 in Fairfax. Those were the days.

    • Yes, the non primary contests could be pushed back later. As I recommended in a post April 2….(sure that’s the reason…) Of course, Good set it for his home church’s parking lot, a major home field advantage? That contest speaks volumes about the bleak future for the GOP in this state, but that’s another post maybe.

      Reed, if need be just call me, I’ll weed them out :). Frankly what I just said needs to be assessed and perhaps acted on by leaders in the GOP, who would have better insight into who really is so likely to win that the game is over. This was me forcing some to think about it. But for COVID I’d be happy to go earn my generous stipend (maybe a meal for four after tax.)

  5. This is on my local registar’s website. A letter from VGOP

    June 23, 2020 Republican Primary
    Final day of registration is Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

    Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, we are respectfully requesting that voters “vote at home” via absentee ballot by mail.

    Visit the Virginia Department of Elections’ website.
    Under “Choose an Absentee Option “select: “I have a reason or condition that prevents me from going to the polls on Election Day.”
    Under “Choose an Absentee Ballot Reason” select: My disability or illness.
    The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is: Tuesday, June 16th at 5 PM.

    The deadline to vote in person absentee is: Saturday, June 20th from 9 AM – 5 PM at City Hall, 2400 Washington Avenue only.

    If you are unable to apply online, please contact our office at 757 926-8683 to request an application.

    Remember a good citizen registers and votes!

  6. Had elections in Fredericksburg yesterday – FLS says it went smoothly… they had mail-in and drive-thru.

  7. I am not familiar with the Democrat Primary in this post, so I will not comment on it. I am very familiar with the Republican Primary, and I strongly disagree that the winners and losers should be determined by who has raised the most money. There has been an active campaign originally by 7 announced candidates, which was reduced to 3 by the failure of most candidates to collect enough signatures on nominating petitions and by a court case. Forums have been held in several parts of the state, including face to face events prior to March and virtual events since. Candidates have devoted hundreds, if not thousands of hours, of their lives because their strong belief that they can better represent the citizens of this state than the incumbent. Each has hundreds of volunteers working on their behalf and they have web-sites and FACEBOOK pages where they explain their positions. Fielding the best candidate is more than looking up how much money a candidate raises. If that were so. why not let Mark Warner run unopposed and not have to answer for his record at all? I will be working the polls myself at a location that will have both party races, and I assume we will be spending a good deal of time curbside. In my County, they will not be forcing anyone who has health concerns to work the polls. You say that you have “been playing this game” for a long time and it is a hopeless cause. Electoral politics is no game. I say we hear what the people of Virginia have to say before we label something a “hopeless cause” even while there have been no polling done on this race (at least to my knowledge, and I do follow such things fairly closely). And even if there were, we know from as recently as 6 months ago, that polling is not an exact science.

    • So if you REALLY want to have a better system where people with good ideas don’t have to be associated with the two parties:

      1. – allow mail-in ballots… that will get more voters…
      make sure it’s protected from fraud… yes it can be

      2.- allow rank-choice voting –

      the two things will back the two parties off from their stranglehold on elections … in my view.

    • Mr. Gabriel, agreed that money is not the only indicator but being broke has an excellent predictive record. Two of those candidates are broke, and if nominated will be just as broke in October. And as plugged in as I have been, I’m not seeing anything from anybody but Gade. It’s over. Pushing this idea might actually generate some coverage of the race. 🙂

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