The Rush to the Firehouse Primary

Brent Finnegan -- April 4th, 2010

Last week city and county Republican Party leaders decided that their nominee for the House of Delegates 26th district seat will be chosen by “firehouse primary.” A candidate will be chosen by registered voters at Lacey Spring Elementary School on Tuesday, April 20, between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m.

So far, only two candidates have officially announced their intention to run for the Republican nomination to take Matt Lohr’s place; Tony Wilt and John Elledge.

map 26th district Virginia House of Delegates

It’s been interesting to read Republican and conservative responses to the timing, location and manner of the primary.

From Republitarian:

If anyone is going to beat Tony, all of the other candidates are going to have to get behind one and pool their support . . . The thing I don’t like about this is that he obviously has been “chosen” by the elites . . .

From a Saturday post on Virginia Conservative:

. . . I believe the timeframe is way too short. Currently there are two declared candidates in the race, Tony Wilt and John Elledge. Unfortunately, I still don’t really know too much about the political positions of either. Besides an email from one and a Facebook group from the other, I haven’t gotten any additional information. The voters need time to learn about the candidates and 20 days (now we are down to 18) is far too short a window. Second, although the 26th district is not a large district geographically, I think we should have more than one polling place . . . (read the rest)

Lacey Spring Elementary map

On Friday, the Daily News-Record reported that the decision was made last Wednesday. According to reporter Jeff Mellott’s story, David Lee of the Rockingham County Republican Party “selected the process, which he said offers no advantages to any single candidate.”

[Harrisonburg Republican Committee Chairman Tracy] Evans said he preferred to have three polling places – Dayton, Broadway and Harrisonburg.

Evans also was unhappy with the date of the firehouse primary. He preferred May 8, he said, to give candidates as much time as possible to campaign.

Lee, however, said three weeks is plenty for candidates to demonstrate their grassroots support.

While Lee listened to the concerns of Harrisonburg Republicans before making a decision, Evans said he still wasn’t satisfied.

“The city voters are getting a raw deal,” he said.

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3 Responses to “The Rush to the Firehouse Primary”

  1. NewHburger says:

    I do find it a bit odd that they’d set the primary date before knowing when the special election is going to be. I’m just glad they are not coronating a candidate by convention as is often the case.

  2. Renee says:

    Yes, it seems unnecessarily early.

  3. JGFitzgerald says:

    There are logistical advantages to actually having a nominee as opposed to just having candidates. The advantage for the parties is ending the internal fight and taking it outside, so to speak. The advantage for the candidates who aren’t nominated is that they can get on with the rest of their lives.

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