The Campaign Spot

Crossover Votes in Virginia’s GOP Primary Today?

I live in a neighborhood I nicknamed Yuppie Acres in Alexandria, Virginia, a deep-blue spot in a deep-blue district of Virginia, represented in Congress for a long time by the infamous Jim Moran. My neighbors are wonderful people, but in 2008 the houses came with Obama yard signs conveniently pre-installed. In 2009, when Bob McDonnell was winning Virginia by the largest margin of any Republican gubernatorial candidate ever, he won only 38 percent in this district and barely 37 percent in Alexandria City, although he did win 45 percent in my polling place.

Today is Super Tuesday, presidential primary day in Virginia, and there is no Democratic contest. As discussed earlier, the only names listed on the ballot are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. There are no write-in options.

I was told I was the 60th voter at about 8:25 a.m. this morning, which seems a little high for the neighborhood. Way less than a “normal” primary day (with a competitive Democratic primary) or a general election, but significantly more than most other Republicans around the state have reported this morning.

That number could reflect Democrats crossing over. I recently asked McDonnell if Virginia would ever switch to voter registration by party, instead of the current nonpartisan system of voter registration.

“There was some legislation this session to have party registration. I believe it’s been killed,” McDonnell said. “I would support that, because I do think we’re at the point now where, while I want a big tent — and I want people of all conservative stripes to come in and be a part of our party — if a party doesn’t have the ability to control its nomination process for its candidates, it loses its ability to maintain itself as a party. You have seen efforts such as this in other states, and even by the Obama administration this time, knowing that Romney would be its strongest opponent, to try to have Democrats come in and vote for other candidates. That’s what happens. Now I have to say, those efforts are rarely successful. It’s hard to do, and it’s embarrassing when you get caught. But I do think the cleanest way to do that is to have party registration.”

“That’s what you do when you have a [state nominating] convention: You clearly are only going to have Republicans showing up at that,” he continued. “When you have people coming in who might actually be interested in undermining the process, that’s probably not good for the political parties on either side.”

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