Alternative Visions of Ron Paul's Chances in Virginia


Conventional wisdom says the big question in Virginia today—hell, the only question—is whether Mitt Romney will win by landslide or avalanche. But might there be other questions? Such as, do Virginians who hate Mitt Romney hate him enough to vote for Ron Paul?

Thanks to Virginia's open primary rules, Romney and Paul (the only two candidates on the ballot, which does not allow write-ins) could both be in for a surprise. On to the (largely anecdotal) evidence: 

– Reports of low voter turnout from this morning, writes Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett, mean only the diehards are voting. Ron Paul supporters are all diehards. (Counterpoint: The polls are open until 7 p.m.!) 

– Supporters of Newt and Santorum may try to sabotage Romney by ginning up support for Paul. Take this plea from a Newt Gingrich forum, posted last month: "… If you are a true Newt supporter, the best you can do is vote for Ron Paul and keep Romney from winning more delegates. This IS the way you should vote in order to send a message to your Governor & the rest of the establishment GOP supporting Willard Romney. Don't get mad—get even." (Counterpoint: One message board rant does not an electoral strategy make.) 

– Virginia Democrats may imitate Michigan Democrats and support Paul to flummox Romney. "I know several VA D's voting for Paul today," tweeted this man. Further speculation from NRO's Jim Geraghty:

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.

Ron Paul supporters in Virginia are also encouraging Democrats to vote for Paul on the Virginia for Ron Paul 2012 Facebook page:

"LISTEN UP Democrats, Independents and everything in between!! PLEASE Consider voting for Ron Paul in the PRIMARY tomorrow! Do NOT Consider it a vote against Obama, it's just a primary and you can still vote for Obama if your heart so desires come this November!" 

Stay tuned for more Super Tuesday coverage. 

NEXT: Gene Healy on the Never Ending Struggle for Liberty

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  1. President Paul!

  2. Another word for alternative is subversive.

  3. Be nice if he could win there.

    I’ve been wondering–what does it mean if Paul finishes second in the end? Not talking about brokered conventions or him wheeling and dealing–just wondering what the implications would be?

    1. Second in delegates? Or popular votes? The latter seems impossible, even if blob n glob drop out tomorrow, since their voters will just unite around the “approved” candidate.

      1. Delegates.

        1. Nothing to see here. Move along.

          1. Sure, many will say that, but it would be hard to ignore the significance of that minority. Especially within the GOP. Even if they ignore and repudiate the Paul experience, other potential candidates won’t. After all, you could grab a big chunk of the Paul vote without going “full Paul.”

            1. it would be hard to ignore the significance of that minority

              No it wouldn’t. They’ll just go back to pretending he doesn’t exist, like they did at the beginning of the primary.

              They know Paul supporters won’t vote Obama, but they’re not going to abandon the war on Muslims or the war on drug users.

              After all, if we don’t fight them there then they’ll be coming here by the tens of thousands, and drugs are bad.
              If you disagree then you’re crazy and not worth a conversation.

              1. Actually, I think a decent chunk of Paul supporters are disillusioned anti-war Obama supporters. They could be reillusioned.

                1. I’m a paultard and I’m voting for obama on the grounds that the economy is going to crash and I want the socialists to take the blame this time.

              2. I am a Paul supporter and I will most certainly vote for Obama if Satorum or Gingrich are is the nominee. GWB showed all to well how much damage could be done by a Republican Congress with a RIMO president. I would much rather have a second term for Obama and thus gridlock then a theocratic statist like Santorum!

                1. An Obama win means 4 more years of Obama’s bad policies. A Santorum win means 4 years of Santorum’s bad policies plus another 4 years of Santorum’s or a Democrat’s bad policies.

        2. If Romney still gets a majority, Paul will be ignored. But I could see his delegation making a ton of noise at the convention, figuratively and literally.

          1. Security!

            1. They’re probably already on the terrorist watch list, anyway.

              1. I think the current administration would like the Republican national convention to have as many RP supporters as possible, so long as RP isn’t the eventual nominee.

  4. I just commented on this elsewhere. Gingrich and Santorum should’ve encouraged their supporters to vote against Romney getting delegates.

  5. As long as we’re using anecdotal evidence, I have some, too. I live in Aging Hipster Acres in Alexandria, VA, and when I voted, I was the only voter there. I had never seen that before, even when the only election was for city councilcritter.

    1. Same in Diverse DC Suburb, VA. I think I was the first one there at 07:30. One of the name-checkers used me to train the other name-checker…

  6. Voted at 130pm… voter number 91… pretty pathetic turnout, but then my area, inside the DC beltway, is full of rich, apathetic obama supporters… so long as they have theirs what do they care…

  7. My spouse and I were the only two people in the polling area at about 10am in Henrico.

  8. Second in delegates?

    To me what’s interesting (a little, at least) is that I’m pretty sure Paul won’t release his delegates.

    Once Santorum and Gingrich know they’re all done, they may release their delegates to vote for Romney. But Paul won’t.

    And you know, the GOP likes the convention to be unanimous for the nominee. They like it so much that last time they lied about delegate votes, in order to make it unanimous for McCain.

    So to me one interesting sidebar of a non-brokered, non-competitive convention will be how they handle Paul’s delegates. I would not be surprised to see their credentials refused in order to maintain unanimity and an atmosphere of enthusiasm for Mitt. And the rage bomb that would go off if they did that would be something to behold.

    1. Do you have a good link explaining exactly what happened in Nevada in 2008?

  9. I was voter 801 in my little town, but we had the school budget election today too.

  10. A Team Blue partisan acquaintance who continuously emails me with progressive dribble said he’s voting for Paul in the primary “because he’s less likely to win [than Romney, in the general election]”.

    People like this could provide a significant boost.

  11. I was #51 today at noon. I only saw two other voters while I was there and they both had Ron Paul stickers on their car. I felt the need to vote against Romney because Gov. “Vaginal Probe who approves of sending the SWAT team to a peaceful woman’s rally” endorsed him.

  12. Well heck, I just voted for Ron Paul here in VA. The problem is, I’ve been planning to do that since sometime mid last year.

    At my polling place it looks to be one person at a time.

  13. I also live and vote in one of the Yuppie neighborhoods in Alexandria, and I was the only person voting when I went at lunch today.

    I’ve seen a few yard signs and highway overpass banners for Paul (and nothing at all for Romney), but I feel Paul left a lot of votes on the table by not even putting for a de minimus effort beyond his mailing list.

  14. Once again Reason Magazine proves a fake libertarian magazine. Please stop. You aren’t helping the cause of liberty at all by trashing its greatest champion.

    1. Who insulted Gary Johnson in this post or thread?

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