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Saturday, November 26, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Sometimes it pays to be lucky

Editor’s Notebook: Sometimes it pays to be lucky

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Virginia Republicans appear to have finally (!) sorted out their nomination process for statewide offices. Took ’em a while, but they got there.

No doubt Democrats are yukking it up over the muddled process it took Republicans to arrive a plan that includes multiple voting locations across the commonwealth.

But Democrats shouldn’t be chortling, because the GOP nomination process is actually more progressive than theirs.

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Funny how that works sometimes.

Democrats are going with a state-run primary, which until further notice (and that could depend on who wins control of Richmond in the fall) remains of the winner-take-all variety. The Democrat who emerges as nominee of his or her party, in fact, for the three offices on the ballot might be able to do so with 30% of the vote, while the Republican nominee will have to walk away with more than 50%.

It’d seem like, on the Democratic side, that quirk favors Terry McAuliffe in a big way, at least in terms of nailing down the nomination.

The once and, he hopes, future governor is likely to lead the pack in the Democratic primary. Let me throw out a wild guess: He’ll get 42% of the vote to lead the field.

But what if the Democratic nominating process had included instant-runoff voting? Then, one presumes, that McAuliffe would have had a much tougher road. Been in deeper doo-doo, so to speak.

He’d probably get that same 42% of the vote in the first round of the  voting, under that scenario, but he’d still need to pick up 8% more as lower-performing candidates were eliminated and their votes reallocated as directed by voters.

Anybody seeing voters for back-of-the-packers like Justin Fairfax and Lee Carter going for McAuliffe? Nope, they’d probably go to Jennifer Carroll Foy, who is working hard to be the most far-left contender in the field, at least among candidates with a chance.

Voters for the “other” Jennifer in the race (Jennifer McClellan) probably would lean heavily to Foy, too.

And under this scenario, if it came down to a final showdown, instant-runoff-wise, between Foy and McAuliffe, here’s my guess: 52% for Foy, 48% for McAuliffe.

Of course, if wishes came true, I would be taller, and for 2021, having instant-runoff for the Democratic primary simply is not in the cards. But it slowly but surely will be making inroads (as noted above, even Republicans are using it), and it’s going to change elections. For good or bad? Guess we’ll find out.

  • –Scott McCaffrey

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