Your View: Republicans must enter Democratic primaries

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Your View: Republicans must enter Democratic primaries
Alexandria City Hall. (file photo)
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By Dino Drudi, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
I would like to present an alternative view to your editorial analysis of the city election (“Some takeaways from the Democratic sweep,” November 5), one rooted in quantitative analysis as a counterpoint to your editorial’s qualitative conclusions.

The Republican candidates, although skewed toward Old Town, were all high caliber, locally focused, and primarily moderate. They lost for two reasons having nothing to do with them as candidates:

First, in an increasingly polarized electorate, the majority of Alexandria voters are unwilling to consider splitting their tickets, making any Republican, no matter how worthy, unelectable here, as Democrats nowadays are in rural Virginia.

Second, in order for the Republicans to win here, they need a combination of high Republican turnout with a lackluster showing from Democrats.

In this election, both parties produced a good turnout. The 2,000 or so votes separating Republicans Bob Wood and Monique Miles from Democrat Willie Bailey represent 8 to 10 percent of voters participating in the election.

Compare that with the 2009 gubernatorial election, which the Republican candidate won by 18 percent statewide, while losing in Alexandria by 30 percentage points. The Republican candidates ran fabulously, but that is not good enough to win here.

The big story your editorial missed is that Mayor Bill Euille’s 9,700 write-in votes hint that he could have found enough votes to win the Democratic primary had he not been so overconfident. One suspects that he did not even realize how much political trouble he was in until the weekend before the primary.

Now everyone understands the new rules of the game: Republicans are per se unelectable here, but they can help make a difference by crossing over into the Democratic primary. And increasingly, the Democratic primary here is tantamount to election.

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