Toomany candidates could hurt state races
An open letter to the Democratic Party of Virginia:
The list of people who actively are seeking the nomination to be the candidate for governor and lieutenant governor is impressive. Their qualifications for the positions are many.
I applaud your plan to nominate the candidates in a primary rather than a convention.
I applaud the decision of the legislature to include the possibility of using ranked-choice voting, but I fear that introducing it in such an important race will cause confusion and spoiled ballots.
However you, and we, have a problem. Our system of voting is set up to discern between two candidates, not four or five. A candidate only has to gain more votes than the rest, not a majority.
The voters and candidates in the city of Richmond experienced the problem with the mayoral race in November. Levar Stoney won with 37.7% of the vote, more than the other five candidates but hardly a mandate. Kim Gray and Alexsis Rogers combined for more than 52% of the vote. Perhaps one of them would have won in a race with fewer candidates.
With this many candidates running, there is every chance the nominee will get significantly less than a majority, and the fighting between candidates in the campaign is not likely to increase their chances in the general election.
Several, if not all, of the current candidates have the potential to be excellent governors and lieutenant governors. But only one can be the nominee for each office next year. A candidate’s loss in this nomination race will not increase his or her chances in the future. Perhaps some of you could accept that this time is not your time, hold back and offer yourselves in the future. I, for one, would be extremely grateful.