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Republican Nomination Woes: Electability or Ideology?


The actual process of how Republicans choose their state-wide nominees could affect the party’s chance of winning in the fall.
The Republican Party of Virginia chose to nominate their candidates through a convention. The process, much of which took place in live video conferences, had been contentious and subject to procedural do-overs. 

Eventually party officials announced a drive-in convention would be held at Liberty University. But after a visit this week, party chairman Rich Anderson wrote Virginia Republicans, saying that a single-site drive-thru convention wasn’t feasible.

“The convergence of as many as 4,000 automobiles and 70 buses at a single venue makes that impossible,” he wrote. “We now have a renewed urgency for putting our plan to bed.”   Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in Virginia in over a decade. So when it comes how they nominate electability plays a role, says Alex Keena, an assistant professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“It's less to do with whether they end up picking a conservative or a more centrist candidate and some more about what the party thinks is a winnable candidate,” he said.

Keena said that conventions’ reliance on the participation of party elites and highly-engaged party members contrasts with a primary which gets more people involved effects who is more likely to win.

Namely, Trumpism is looming over the Republican nomination.
“Trump has never won an election in Virginia and none of his surrogates have won a statewide election in Virginia.”

A nominee that’s more similar to former President President Trump could be concerning to those focused on electability, including party officials. 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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