There has been much talk about Ohio’s Primary election, which will happen May 3, 2022. (Mark your calendars.)
On the Republican side, there are three candidates - Mike DeWine (the incumbent), Joe Blystone (citizen-candidate, farmer and entrepreneur), and Jim Renacci (former Ohio Rep, former Mayor of Wadsworth, and businessman).
Candidates like Joe Blystone, who have little name recognition and minimal funding, are often pressured to exit the race because they are said to have “no chance of winning”. I keep hearing how someone who “doesn’t have at least a million dollars” and “has no name recognition” has ZERO chance of winning, therefore they should really drop out, so as not to split the vote.
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A note about “splitting the vote” in case you don’t know what that means: The incumbent (in this case, Mike DeWine) has a clear advantage because his name is well known. He also has lots of support from various “establishment” organizations, and plenty of funding for his campaign, including a personal net worth that is estimated to be in the $50 million range. That makes him hard to beat, regardless of whether he has been a good Governor, or how much support he has lost from the citizens who follow current events.
If DeWine has only ONE challenger, that’s an easy choice. Either DeWine or the Challenger wins. Period.
But if DeWine has TWO challengers, that divides the vote three ways, making it more likely that DeWine (the most well-known candidate) will win. Ditto for any number of multiple challengers... vote could be split three, four, or more ways.
That’s why many believe there should only be ONE Primary challenger to the incumbent - it gives voters a better chance of displacing a poorly-performing incumbent. But does it give us the best candidate for the job?
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I’ll be honest here… I find it decidedly un-American to tell a citizen-candidate that he/she has no business running for elected office because they don’t have enough money, or don’t have name recognition, and therefore “can’t possibly win”. While it may actually be the brutal reality in our current system, that suggests to me that it’s not candidates that need to adapt to the system, but rather the system needs to adapt to candidates. America has always been about competition. It still should be.
What do I mean? Well, currently there are nine states (Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont) that have Primary elections, followed by a run-off election afterwards. The run-offs are conducted anywhere from two weeks to two months after the Primary. That’s actually a great solution, and a system I think Ohio needs to adopt.
That way, we can actually end up with a candidate who will better represent the majority of citizens
Example: In our current system, let’s say DeWine gets 39% of the Primary vote, Renacci gets 35%, and Blystone gets 26% of the vote. That decides it - DeWine is our nominee. But wait! 61% of the voters did NOT WANT DeWine! Still, that’s who we get.
Example: With a post-Primary run-off, in the situation above, there would be a second election between only the two top vote-getters… in this case DeWine and Renacci. In that situation, Renacci might attract the former Blystone voters and win the nomination. (Or maybe the race would be between Renacci and Blystone, or DeWine and Blystone… whoever the two top vote-getters are).
This way, we would be guaranteed to have a Republican candidate who was supported by at least half the constituency. Sounds like a win to me.