Tag Archives: primary

Louisiana’s Jungle Primary

In Louisiana, they have primary system that is sometimes called a “jungle primary“.  This open form of a primary allows candidates for office to run on one ballot, regardless of party affiliation.

The 1991 Louisiana Primary for Governor
Edwin Edwards (D) 33.8%
David Duke (R) 31.7%
Buddy Roemer (R) 26.5%
Clyde Holloway (R) 5.3%
Others (including R, D, and I candidates) 2.2%

Since no candidate received a simple majority, a second election was held.  Edwards defeated Duke 61-39%.  In this case, a Democrat ran against a Republican in the second round.  You could, however, end up with two candidates from the same party who run against each other in the second round.

In most other states, the conventional open and closed primary systems are used.  In each case, a nominee is chosen by the public for each party.  In open states, party affiliation is not a prerequisite for voting in either party’s primary.  In closed primary states, you can only vote in the party primary under the label you are registered.  Louisiana continues to use the “jungle primary”.  What is your opinion on the “jungle primary”?

On a side note, the Louisiana race was an intriguing one due to the candidates who ran at the time.  Edwin Edwards was an ethically challenged former Governor who lost a re-election bid to Governor Buddy Roemer.  Roemer was elected in 1987 as a Democrat but then switched his affiliation to the Republican Party midway through his term.  David Duke was a state Representative who was once the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux KlanClyde Holloway was a Congressman who, some thought, ran a spoiler candidate who could siphon off votes from Roemer.

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Top 2 Elections

When California voters show up to the polls this November, they will have a limited number of choices at the ballot box for Governor, other statewide races, and races for US House.  Known as the “Top 2” Primary, the top two candidates in the primary advance to a run-off in November’s general election.  Traditional open/closed primary elections guarantee a nominee from each political party who holds a party primary.  Therefore, if three parties hold primary elections, then each party will have a nominee on the ballot in the general election.  In a “Top 2” system, no party is guaranteed a nominee in the second round of voting. You could end up with the top two primary winners from the same political party.  The Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom Parties will not have a candidate in November’s statewide and national races in California.

What are your opinions on a “Top 2” Primary?  Do you favor such an election? Do you favor the traditional open/closed primaries that most states have where each party will have some form of representation on Election Day?

Your Primary Choice

What Makes A Negative Ad…Negative?

Not all negative political ads have to be accompanied by the requisite gloom and doom music and grainy black and white photos of a candidate.  Take this ad, for example, run by an independent organization (independent expenditure) for a US Senate race in Utah.

What makes this ad, “negative”?

The Purpose of Runoff Elections

Take a look at these two sets of election results.  The first is from the Republican Party primary for Illinois Governor in 2010.  The second is from the Republican Party primary for South Carolina’s open Congressional District 1 seat that was held on Tuesday, March 19.

2010 Gubernatorial Primary — Illinois (Republican Party)

Bill Brady 20.26%
Kirk Dillard 20.24%
Andy McKenna 19.29%
Jim Ryan 17.04%
Adam Andrzejewski 14.47%
Dan Proft 7.73%
Bob Schillerstrom 0.97%

Brady became the party’s nominee with less than 21% of the vote.  His total vote difference over Dillard was a slim 197 votes.  In Illinois, a plurality of votes is sufficient enough for a candidate to become a party’s nominee.  Another way to look at the above result is that almost 80% of the Republican primary vote went to a candidate other than Brady.

2013 Congressional District 1 Primary– South Carolina (Republican Party)

Mark Sanford 36.9%
Curtis Bostic 13.3%
Larry Grooms 12.4%
Teddy Turner 7.9%
Andy Patrick 7.0%
John Kuhn 6.5%
Chip Limehouse 6.1%
Ray Nash 4.7%
Peter McCoy 1.6%
Elizabeth Moffly 1.0%
Tim Larkin 0.7%
Jonathan Hoffman 0.7%
Jeff King 0.4%
Keith Blandford 0.4%
Shawn Pinkston 0.3%
Ric Bryant 0.2%

Since no candidate received 50% of the vote in the South Carolina Republican primary, a runoff election will be held between the Sanford and Bostic on April 2.  In states where there are runoff elections, a candidate must get a majority of the vote in order to avoid a second or runoff election.  A runoff will ensure that a candidate will become a party’s nominee with a majority of the vote.  Runoff elections, as I mentioned, will give the voter a choice between two candidates.   There are, however, arguments against runoff elections.

Criticisms involving a runoff election include:

a.  Cost:  Having a primary and a general election are costly enough.  Adding an extra election in between will also come with a price.

b.  Turnout:  Voter turnout in the South Carolina Special Election Primary on March 19 was 70,399 out of 453,632 registered voters (15.5%).  Turnout was a little higher than expected.  That being said, turnout for the runoff election will be lower on April 2.  Too often, runoff election results are determined by the party faithful who turn out to vote consistently in elections.  The faithful, though, only make up a small portion of the actual number of registered voters in that party.

c.  First and Second Switch:  Low voter turnout could benefit the second place contestant.  There are no guarantees that the results from the first round will remain the same in the second go around.  Such was the case with Virginia Foxx in 2004.  She finished second in a Republican primary for Congress in North Carolina.  The winner of the first round of voting, Vernon Robinson, finished with 24% of the vote, way below the runoff threshold.  Foxx overtook Robinson in the runoff 55-45%.

What is your take on runoff elections?  Do you support them? Should there only be one primary election, as is the case in Illinois, where first place only needs a plurality to become the nominee?

The Power of the Invisible Primary

It is only 2013 and many Democratic and Republican Party leaders are already testing the waters for a Presidential run in 2016.  Many of those who enter into the Presidential fray will drop out before they even officially run.  The others, who do make it to the 2016 primaries and caucuses, can thank the “invisible primary” for their ability to compete in an electoral format.  The invisible primary or the “money primary” does not involve any voting at the ballot box.  Candidates, however, who want to be considered as viable candidates must do well in the invisible primary.

In the months and years before the first votes are cast, candidates try to woo financial backers into supporting their campaigns.  Monetary contributions separate potential candidates from pretenders.  With more financial backing, a candidate can make the early campaign rounds in states like Iowa and New Hampshire.  Those two states hold the first caucus and first primary respectively every Presidential election season.

The added campaign stops then increases the public’s awareness about that candidate.  The increased public awareness subsequently inflates the candidate’s poll numbers.  Positive polling results also separates the top-tier from the second-tier.  This increases the candidate’s chances on Election Day.

Paul Laxalt
Paul Laxalt

The invisible primary can also eliminate good candidates who may have great ideas, but lack the prowess to raise large amounts of money.  An example of this happening would be the failed 1988 Presidential run of US Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV).  Considered to be an heir to the Ronald Reagan legacy, Laxalt, who was dubbed, “The First Friend”, entered his name into the Presidential race too late, and dropped his bid in 1987 due to a lackluster four months of fundraising.

What are your thoughts on the invisible primary? Do you see any positives or negatives with the invisible primary?