The Convention Risk

We have an unnecessary crisis in state government underway.  If the political parties hold a convention to nominate their candidates for Governor it will only magnify.  Chaos is exactly what could happen with nearly every leader in the Legislature running for Governor.  They cannot even agree on who should run the State Senate.

Political conventions and the process to convene are messy affairs.  West Virginia election laws [3-5-21] clearly outline the steps.   But rest assured when the interests of candidates, power and the control of state government is at stake every trick known and unknown will be used to win.

A convention must be held in each county once delegates are apportioned.  There members of the political party in each magisterial district elect the specified number of delegates for the state convention.

You may recall in 2008 state Republicans held a convention rather than a primary for the presidential race.  They tried to modernize the delegate process relying on voting via the Internet with a few county-level meetings.  There was a huge outcry that registered Republicans were left out and this one day meeting was only for the politically active – or insiders.  

Anytime a prize such as the office of Governor is at stake there will be conflict and contests.  The law provides a remedy for these conflicts.  A conflict within county party executive committee (more political power brokers) goes to the circuit court of the county and could end in the Supreme Court of Appeals.

All of this takes place before the state convention convenes, adopts its rules and begins the job of nominating a candidate.  Now the games really begin!

I know from having organized a state political convention, managed a candidate at both a national and state convention as well as being a delegate to both. 

Experience is a great teacher.  We don’t need our next Governor chosen in a climate of conflict.  To avoid the confusion and conflict of a convention we need to have a primary, even though I previously expressed concern over the cost of two more elections in 2011.

An old-fashion political convention was fun – however exclusive.  But we need a primary that includes everyone, where all get to vote not just the politically involved.


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