Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Crowded Republican Fields

The GOP has an incredible number of candidates for Congress this year in North Carolina. In 2008 a total of 19 Republican candidates ran for the House. There are already 43 this year with another day of filing left to go.

Many of these folks have signed up to run because they're angry about wasteful government spending but in an ironic twist of fate the crowded candidate fields in several districts could necessitate expensive, but low turnout runoff elections all over the state in June.

Unless the Democratic Senate primary ends up in a runoff- and I don't think it will because I believe Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham will end up leaving the rest of the field in the dust, allowing one of them to get to 40%- there won't be a statewide election on June 22nd. But there will be in a number of counties, and that will likely be driven by how many of these Republican Congressional races fail to see a candidate get 40% in May.

There are already six Republican primaries with 4 candidates or more. There are 6 running in the 11th (Heath Shuler), 5 in the 8th (Larry Kissell), and 4 in the 1st (G.K. Butterfield), 4th (David Price), 6th (Howard Coble), and 13th (Brad Miller.) Those are the races most likely to end up in runoffs, but it's also possible in the districts where there are three Republican candidates so far which are the 2nd (Bob Etheridge), 7th (Mike McIntyre), and 10th (Patrick McHenry).

If I was a Republican trying to break out from the pack and get some attention in one of these races I would challenge all the other candidates not to request a runoff whatever the results of the May primary are. It would show a personal commitment to fiscal conservatism by avoiding the public cost of holding a low turnout runoff election.

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