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Dispute Brewing in Virginia GOP Over 2013 Primary

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Dispute Brewing in Virginia GOP Over 2013 Primary

NBCWashington.com

Delegates to the weekend's Virginia Republican Party convention in Richmond don't have to pick any nominees for autumn's elections, but they will resolve a brewing dispute over how to pick next year's nominees.

The state GOP's governing central committee voted last year to decide the 2013 gubernatorial nomination in a primary election. Now, some within the party want to change it to instead hold a statewide convention.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and his supporters oppose a convention and say that it's not only bad politics and an unfair attempt to change rules in the middle of a game, but that it also disenfranchises Republicans serving in the military. Gov. Bob McDonnell and U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor back Bolling.

Supporters of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a tea party favorite and Bolling's rival for the nomination, support a convention, which they could more easily dominate.

Because Virginia does not register voters by party, its primaries are open to all voters, and Republican conservatives have long contended -- with little documentation -- that primaries allow Democrats, independents and others to meddle in their party's nomination process. They prefer conventions as a way to screen out non-Republicans.

More than 4,000 delegates are registered for the two-day convention at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, which opens at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Related Topics Virginia GOP, convention, primary
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