Elections aren't won or lost by the means of nomination but rather by the quality of the candidate, their campaigns, and the mood of the electorate. Whether its 15,000 activists are a paltry 1% of the electorate in a primary, there is no guarantee one way or another. Let me go back to 2001 and work our way forward:
- 2001 (convention): Earley (loss), Katzen (loss), Kilgore (win)
- 2002 (primary): Warner (win, unopposed)
- 2005 (primary): Kilgore (loss), Bolling (win), McDonnell (win)
- 2006 (primary): Allen (loss, unoppsoed)
- 2008 (convention): Gilmore (loss)
- 2009 (convention): McDonnell (win), Bolling (win), Cuccinelli (win)
- 2012 (primary): Allen (loss)
- 2013 (convention): Cuccinelli (loss), Jackson (loss), Obenshain (undecided)
Its a needless distraction that has no bearing in the final results. We've had several candidates win and lose being nominated by both. Kilgore won after a convention but lost after a primary. McDonnell and Bolling won using both ways. Allen was nominated by convention back in 1993 but lost via primary in 2012. You can dissect every single one of these elections up and down, but the reasons for victory or defeat have almost NO explanation in the means of nomination. Every one wants to point to EW Jackson, but honestly I'm not convinced he still wouldn't have won a ridiculously low turnout primary because his competition was either no names or just terrible. Cuccinelli himself would have housed Bill Bolling in a primary and that is why he quit, because he knew he couldn't win in any way so instead he preferred to sit on the sidelines and take his 20 pieces of silver.
Personally, I'm willing to let go of conventions. Its not because it is such a small sample size, but because it is an olive branch that the activists and grassroots can offer the establishment in order to make peace. The last real contested primary we had that were open was 2005 and the conservatives won all three (Kilgore over Fitch, Bolling over Connaughton, and McDonnell over Baril), so I'm not too worried about it. I enjoy conventions, but I won't lie, it will be nice to stay home.
But while we get ready to kill each other over this asshat controversy again lets just stop.
It doesn't matter.