Gov. McDonnell said he wants the Republican Party of Virginia to stick with a primary instead of switching to a convention for the 2013 gubernatorial race when it meets next week while speaking on WMAL radio in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.
At the urging of party members the state Republican Party's State Central Committee will decide on JUne 15 whether to switch to a convention as the method to choose the GOP nominee for governor in 2013, which would be a reversal of a decision made last year to hold a primary between two high profile candidates - Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. A primary is seen as favorable to Bolling, who has strong support from McDonnell, while a convention is seen as more advantageous to Cuccinelli.
"I favor sticking by the rules that were set over a year ago," McDonnell said. "That's a concern to me. The Central Committee of the Republican Party voted a year ago almost that the rules this time would be a primary. Candidates for all the offices got in knowing it was going to be a primary. So now, less than a year to go beforethe nominating process convenes, to change the rules back to a convention I think it's just flat wrong. It creates no predictability for candidates about how these rules are going to change. And they could change again.
"I think we ought to stick with the primary. In 2009 when I was elected, I was elected in a convention and people asked me to try to change it to a primary at the time. And I said, 'No, we cannot change the rules midstream.' And this is the same scenario. So I'm disappointed that people would want to change this. There's a fair debate about whether a convention or primary is better. That's for another day. But don't change the rules midstream."
Bolling has said in the past he prefers a primary, while Cuccinelli has said he'd like a convention.