RALEIGH – With the advent of the Constitution Party of North Carolina earning ballot access, and their subsequent effort to recruit current Republican House Rep. Beverly Boswell (R-Dare) who lost her primary last month, Republican majorities have now all but passed a bill that contains a ban on ‘sore loser’ candidates.
In the legislation, any candidate that loses a primary for one party (Republican) is barred from running in the general election under the banner of another party (Constitution Party). Arguably, from a Party perspective, this would prevent the ‘sore loser’ candidate from soaking up votes from the Party base and handing the general election to the opposing Party.
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Whether or not this rule is needed, it is curious that no such attention was paid to the issue when the Green Party of North Carolina gained ballot access. There are a handful of Democrat lawmakers that, should they lose a primary battle, would be right at home in the Green Party. Instead of a sore loser law, though, the Green Party got merely snickers (and deservedly so – their platform is laughable).
As soon as a threat to the NCGOP emerged in the form of the Constitution Party of North Carolina, however, those same lawmakers were quick to block any primary losers from jumping ship for the general.
As such, it is probably wise of the Constitution Party to focus on low hanging fruit, winning elected positions from the bottom up, to gain a foothold and raise the brand awareness required for legitimacy in voters’ eyes. County commissions, city councils, or very conservative legislative districts could go a long way toward developing a pipeline of conservative constitutionalist candidates, with out drawing the ire of the Party and (perhaps) spoiling a race that would otherwise be won by Republicans.
Still, passing laws to keep individuals from running in an election seems contrary to the principles of liberty the NCGOP is supposed to represent. That, and plenty of other examples of abandoning those principles, is exactly why an alternative party exists in the first place. Maybe the presence of the Constitution Party will keep Republicans more in line with free markets and limited government. The former will definitely field candidates that live and breath a constitutional platform, while the latter’s candidates can be a roll of the dice between a solar-subsidy-supporting environmentalist or an actual conservative.
Either way, some voters will have extra options on their ballots come November, and competition is always a good thing for consumers, especially in political markets.