Operation Chaos in Virginia?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Jun 08, 2009 11:37 AM
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Tomorrow, Virginians head to the polls to nominate a Democratic gubernatorial nominee. 

The candidates on the ballot are: Former DNC Chairman and Clinton pal, Terry McAuliffe, former Delegate Brian Moran (brother of Congressman Jim Moran), and rural State Senator Creigh Deeds (who has been endorsed by The Washington Post). 

The winner will go up against GOP nominee Bob McDonnell.

Here's the thing, though ...

Virginia does not have party registration, so anyone who is registered to vote in Virginia -- except for the 12,000, or so, folks who were delegates to the Republican Party of Virginia's state convention (and thus, already "voted" in the Republican gubernatorial primary) -- may show up and cast a ballot tomorrow.

The polls have narrowed, and low-voter turnout is predicted, so there's no way of telling who will prevail. 

This, of course, presents a ripe opportunity for, at least, some Republicans to vote in the Democratic Primary. 

Already, I've heard from some Republicans who are planning to engage in "Operation Chaos, Virginia."  One conservative I spoke to believes Brian Moran would be the weakest opponent (McAuliffe has tons of money and Deeds might actually pick off some conservative voters down-state) and, thus, will be voting for Moran.

While some may question the ethics of this sort of strategic voting, the situation is ripe for the possibility that even a few hundred Republican votes might influence the 2009 gubernatorial election, which might, in turn, impact the 2010 mid-term elections ...

Update:  Someone on Twitter noted that the last "Operation Chaos" didn't work out well for Republicans.  Don't forget, Operation Chaos didn't kick in until late in the game -- and Hillary did win Pennsylvania. 

Update: Just received this email from a conservative Republican political strategist who happens to be a native Virginian:
I was just getting ready to email you on this — Saturday night, my family gathered in Alexandria at the home of my sister, to celebrate her birthday. The adults in attendance were my sister, my brother-in-law, my mother and father, my aunt and uncle, and myself. Each of us is a registered voter in Virginia. And we are all Republicans. And we actually had a conversation about all going to vote Tuesday in the Democratic primary — not to pick the Democrat we could most easily live with, should McDonnell falter in the fall, but to help the Democrats select the nominee least likely to defeat McConnell in the fall. (We chose McAuliffe — no way an outsider wins in the fall, no matter HOW much money he puts on the air.)

I was silently laughing to myself that my essentially non-political family was engaged in a discussion of strategic voting.

Update:  Looks like some gun-owners are already planning on doing this.  BTW, an emailer is disputing the contention that delegates to the RPV convention are disqualified from voting in the Dem primary.  I have attempted to confirm this with the SoS office, to no avail.  It makes sense to me that Republicans should not be allowed to vote twice -- but if you have some info on this, please post in the comments...