Virginia’s Republican Party will convene in Richmond May 17 and 18 for its annual convention, where delegates from around the state will elect nominees for Lt. Governor and Attorney General.
The Commonwealth’s GOP central committee voted 47-31 in June 2012 to switch the nomination system from an open primary to a closed convention of credentialed representatives.
GOP officials had decided in 2011 to hold a primary in 2013, but a group of newly elected members on the committee reversed the decision that June, much to the dismay of some party members who think it makes the process too insular.
In 2009, Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli were nominated during a convention process.
Whereas primaries are paid for with state and local dollars, a convention would come directly out of the Virginia GOP’s pocket.
The Associated Press reports that the 2009 convention cost the party about $160,000.
But the announcement of the 2013 convention drove Bolling to forfeit his run at the Republican nomination for governor. He announced in November 2012 that he was dropping out of the race.
Bolling called the convention a mistake that would ultimately hurt Virginia’s Republican Party.
“Conventions are by their very nature exclusive, and at a time when we need to be projecting a positive image and reaching out to involve more Virginians in the Republican Party, I am unwilling to be part of a process that could seriously damage our image and appeal,” he said in his statement at the time.
Bolling’s decisions made Cucinelli the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, and he’ll be squaring off against Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
The race for the republican nominee for Lt. Governor, on the other hand, is much, much wider – there are seven candidates vying for the spot.
Each county and city in Virginia gets a certain number of delegate votes based on Republican voter turnout in the last presidential or gubernatorial election, per the Republican Party of Virginia’s rules.
Fairfax County, for example, gets 1,382 delegate votes, while Arlington County gets 216. Loudoun and Prince William Counties get 461 and 474, respectively.