Roads to Reform
There are several possible avenues to reforming the Georgia Republican Party.
(1) The Utah Model: Under this system, the GAGOP state and district convention delegates would vote for candidates for statewide and congressional office. If no candidate wins 60% of the vote, the top two finishers would go on to a primary runoff.
This model’s advantages include (a) greatly reducing the costs of running for office; (b) opening up opportunities to non-politicians/multi-millionaire businessman candidates (like Senator Mike Lee) to run for office; (c) it eliminates to need for a double primary (since only two candidates will be running), thus savings taxpayers and candidates considerable amounts of money.
(2) The Virginia Model: The Virginia model would be very simple to implement, a simple change in the code of Georgia to allow both minor and major parties to choose candidates for convention or primaries. Under this system, the state and congressional district conventions would nominate candidates by majority vote.
This model’s advantages include (a) greatly reducing the costs of running for office by as much as 75% (even lower than the Utah model); (b) it gives greater control of the political process to grassroots groups and well informed voters who care the most about the process and the party; (c) it eliminates to need for a primary AND a runoff, thus saving taxpayers and candidates millions.
(3) The Colorado Model: This would be the simplest to implement, it would probably only require a rule change to the GAGOP bylaws. Under this system, all candidates running for state or federal office would file a statement of candidacy with the GAGOP no later than the first week of January. All candidates so qualified would be eligible for ballot access on the February statewide precinct caucus ballot. At the precinct caucuses around the state, attending voters would cast their votes for their preferred candidates (similar to the Iowa Caucuses), and only the candidates who reached a threshold of 10%-25% (depending on the number of candidates running) would be eligible to qualify for office with the Secretary of State in March.
This model’s advantages include (a) greatly influence of the grassroots of the party; (b) greatly increasing participation in GOP mass meeting and conventions; (c) making it less likely that a runoff (with it’s added stress and financial cost would occur; (d) strengthen the ability of the GAGOP to protect its brand and help to bring about party unity.
(4) The Presidential Primary Model: Under this system, a candidate would be chosen in a manner very similar to the presidential primaries of the Democratic and Republican parties. Candidates running for statewide and federal office would run in a primary and would be awarded delegates on a county by county basis with candidates who won a majority of the vote in a county receiving all the county’s delegates, while if no candidate won a majority, the county’s delegates would be awarded on a proportional basis. The state and district conventions would then choose a nominee with delegates being pledged to a candidate on the first one or two ballots and then being unpledged and able to vote for the candidate of their choice.
(5) The Michigan Model: The Michigan system is based on locally elected precinct delegates chosen in the spring primaries and these delegates, in turn, attend county conventions and elected state delegates and these delegates nominate candidates for statewide offices (other than Governor and U.S. Senator, who run in primaries). This system is probably the best in terms of its healthy combination of primaries and directly elected delegates from small districts (precincts) that make it easier for regular citizens to serve as delegates.