Virginia Republican Party leaders will gather later this month to decide whether to hold a presidential primary next year. Based on the past positions of the party’s State Central Committee, which will make the decision, a nominating convention seems more likely, party insiders said Wednesday. This is an ongoing struggle in the Republican Party of Virginia, but it takes on wider significance going into a presidential election year. The party’s right wing generally prefers conventions, figuring the dedicated folks willing to spend all Saturday in a political meeting will pick more conservative nominees. Others push for primaries, arguing that they help widen the party’s tent and juice the Republican ground game as GOP candidates traipse through the state and campaign volunteers collect voter information well ahead of general elections.
Chip Muir, a 3rd Congressional District representative on the State Central Committee, has been pushing a compromise. Hold a primary in the 2016 elections, he argues, then a nominating convention for the 2017 gubernatorial race.
Both sides win in what has been a contentious intra-party battle, he argues, and average voters won’t be surprised next spring when they don’t get to help choose the GOP’s presidential candidate.