With several primaries taking place at both the statewide and local level, I’ve had a number of people ask me if I think primaries are good for the Democratic Party. For me, the answer is that last year’s presidential primary should serve as a prime example of how a primary can help strengthen the eventual nominee if he/she focuses on growing the campaign’s organization and crafting its message. For a more local example, look at how the Webb Brigades were able to use the 2006 Senate primary to rally behind Jim Webb early and eventually help him overcome the double digit lead that George Allen had in the polls.
All that being said, I do get a little hesitant when candidates and their organizations appear to be putting bickering ahead of focusing on the issues and growing the grassroots. Of course candidates will want to draw some attention to the differences between themselves and their opponents, but you can do that in a manner that doesn’t distract from the overall goals of the Democratic Party and the current campaign. In other words, it should be a small part of the campaign and the vast majority of a candidate’s time and energy should be spent on reminding voters why he/she should be elected. That is why I am proud to be working hard to elect Jon Bowerbank Virginia’s next Lt. Governor.
Jon has been traveling all over the Commonwealth of Virginia talking about what he wants to accomplish as Lt. Governor and how hopes to accomplish those goals. I’ve seen this firsthand as I traveled over 1,300 miles with him last week as he discussed his recently released jobs plan. I found it very interesting to see how excited people were to have a candidate who was willing to take the time to actually listen to what various people had to say. He wasn’t visiting locations to score political points; he was visiting locations so that he could actually learn something while he was traveling the state to talk about the role they thought our next Lt. Governor could play in stimulating the economy. People realized this and many of them told me how they want a leader like Jon who will actually take the time to listen to what others have to say.
While people might be growing sick and tired of some candidates bickering back and forth, Jon Bowerbank’s jobs tour served as a reminder of how we can get more people involved in the political process if we have a candidate who puts forward good ideas and tries to promote a productive discussion. With candidates like Jon who are constantly having these conversations with the voters, primaries can most definitely be productive. It’s when petty bickering distracts us from what’s at hand that primaries can be harmful to the eventual nominee.