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Virginia Republicans and their preference for conventions

Mallory Noe-Payne
Radio IQ

Voters across Virginia will go to the polls on June 20th for General Assembly and local primaries. But only a handful of those contests will be Republican primaries.

Out of the 40 seats in the Virginia Senate, only seven districts will conduct Republican primaries. By way of contrast, Democrats will hold primary elections in more than twice that number of districts. Most Republican candidates have already been chosen in party meetings and conventions. Republican strategist Dan Scandling says it's just part of the culture.

"That’s the way it's been in Virginia for Republicans," Scandling explains. "They traditionally like conventions over an open primary. That's just the way it is, and I don't think you're going to see that change."

In some ways, conventions have been a very successful way for Republicans to select the best candidates, says J. Miles Coleman at UVA's Center for Politics.

"The whole convention system really worked out well for them in the governor's race that year. That's how Governor Youngkin got the Republican nomination," Coleman says. "So, they've had some success with a convention there. Perhaps they're trying to replicate that a bit. And these conventions have sort of been a quirk of Virginia politics for a while."

Republican voters who go to the polls on June 20th will see some familiar names from the House of Delegates: Dave LaRock, Emily Brewer, Tim Anderson and Tara Durant will all be on the ballot seeking a promotion from the House to the Senate.

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

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.