The news has come up from the holy city that the GOP state central committee by a vote of 47-27 have chosen a convention over a primary for picking the GOP Senate nominee (and presumably for picking national convention delegates, etc.) for 2008.
Those who have read this blog know that I think conventions create more harm than good. They don’t appreciably build the name ID of the candidate, they can create far more ill will than a primary, and they are too often used as means to stack the deck for a candidate to win a nomination as opposed to being a way to build the party.
This decision is already considered a plus for a Gilmore candidacy, and rightly so. Why? First, it will be easier to get the die hard conservative base to a convention that to get moderate voters-advantage to the more conservative Gilmore. Second, Delegates for GOP conventions are assigned based on a county vote in various statewide elections (typically going back to the most recent presidential election). This composition favors former Governor Jim Gilmore, with smaller downstate municipalities that vote GOP getting a larger ratio representation than more populous Northern Virginia, which broke strongly democratic in 2005 and 2006.
Not only have I previously stated my opposition to conventions (especially as they are now used), but I have suggested that the GOP consider moving past Gilmore or Davis for the GOP nod and getting Eric Cantor into the race.
I will not go into detail here, just hit the link above and you can see my thoughts on the matter (you know, the same thinking that caused bherring at RK to call me a “mouth breather” and a “fool”). Instead, let me offer a different reason.
I suggest that Jim Gilmore will run worse in northern virginia than Kilgore 2005 or Allen 2006. I think he will run worse in tidewater without being able to expand the GOP vote in the conservative areas of the commonwealth.
I think Jim Gilmore has the potential to be one of those candidates who is so disliked by the general public that anyone who ever had a gripe with him makes sure to come out and vote. He did not finish the car tax, he finished his term in office as a stubborn “my way or the highway” politician who poisoned the well on everything from Hugh Finn to getting rid of the last portion of the car tax.
Moreover, given recent polling results Warner is so ahead of Gilmore that Warner could even have the luxury of being able to spend extra time campaigning in other areas to the detriment of GOP house candidates.
A Gilmore nomination has the potential to do what George Allen could not do…I think he not only has no chance to win the general election, I think his candidacy has what it takes to take down other GOP candidates in Virginia.
If the RPV wants to have a convention despite all logic to the contrary, fine…but for goodness sake do not nominate Jim Gilmore. You want someone with great conservative credentials…fine, but find someone someone else.
A Gilmore candidacy will be a nightmare, and could set the GOP base vote for a statewide election for years to come.
Chicken Little? Only time will tell. But remember, you heard it here first…