WV Conservatives Seek to Close Primaries After NH Voter Crossover

2024-01-24 16:21:36

The controversy over the New Hampshire open primary system sets the stage for a fight in West Virginia as conservatives there seek to close the state’s primary elections soon.

Former President Donald Trump defeated former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley by double digits on Tuesday night, making him the first non-incumbent to win both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Trump trumped Haley despite the Granite State having an open primary system, which means that Democrats can legally cross over and vote in the GOP primary. Seventy percent of Haley voters were not registered Republicans.

“Unaffiliated voters made up slightly less than half of the electorate (47%) and broke for Haley by 26 points,” Fox News reported.

Now, the West Virginia Republican Party Executive Committee will reportedly meet on Saturday, where it will consider a proposal to restrict the primary elections, including the one for May, to only registered Republicans. This would have a huge sway in the combative elections for governor and senate.

The state Republican and Democrat parties, nearly 30-years-ago, opened their primaries to independent voters, or non-affiliated voters, to broaden their appeal. Twenty-five percent of all registered voters in the state are non-affiliated.

Local Republican lawmakers have contended that the open primary system has cost Republicans seats due to Democrats interfering.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Eric Tarr (R-Putnam) said, “I can see the pros and cons on both sides, but I’m now on the side of that we should close primaries.” He added:

Traditionally what has happened in Republican elections is that about two-thirds of the non-parties would vote in our primaries and about one-third would vote in the Democrat side of it. But what we’ve seen in a couple elections in the past is that ability to move that third that normally votes in the Democrat primary over a Republican primary has cost us seats at the local level and state races.

Conservative pundits have largely declared that only registered Republicans should vote in GOP primaries.

Donald Trump Jr. wrote, “Why are Republicans even allowing Democrats to infiltrate GOP Primaries like this? We need closed GOP primaries in every state across the country, so its only Republicans voting in them. Democrats shouldn’t get a say in who Republicans nominate!!!”

Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk wrote, “Ultra-liberal Hanover, NH had just 841 Republican votes in the 2020 general election. Tonight, the same town has 1,472 votes for Nikki Haley. This is Democrat election interference, enabled by an insane open-primary system.”

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.



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