Not that we need another excuse to tear each other apart in the GOP over the method of nomination, but I am watching with some interest the results yesterday from Colorado's state Republican assemblies (as they call them) which are essentially conventions. But the twist is that this is simply a runoff convention. Any candidate who doesn't receive 30% of the assembly's vote are off the ballot for the primary at the end of June. I know this convention-primary model is also similarly used in Utah, though a bit different.
I actually think this method is an excellent way to do this. Convention supporters argue that the grassroots needs to led the way in nominating candidates, while primary supporters see conventions as a way for fringe, unelectable candidates to get nominations that they normally wouldn't get. This solves both of the problems. The assembly's 30% rule ensures that nobody can game the system and keeps it open to all candidates who can organize. It also means, however, that there will be a two month sprint to a primary where the campaigns can then reach out to all voters, all Republicans, and people who aren't living in the state like military personnel. There is also an out clause, where campaigns can petition to get on the ballot, but I'm not sure that would work in Virginia because we don't have party registration. It means the fringe candidates who can't make 30% of a convention vote are out and thus we don't have to waste money on a pointless and embarrassing primary, but it also gives true grassroots conservative candidates a real shot at getting to a primary. So this year in Colorado there were seven candidates running for governor ... two have accessed the primary ballot by petition (Tancredo and Beauprez) and two more made the 30% threshold (Gessler and Kopp). That still leaves four established candidates who have records they can run on in a two month primary where every Republican will get their say.
Anyways, food for thought.