PARKERSBURG - This weekend, as state Republican Party members decide whether to hold another convention or a primary election to pick presidential delegates, the Wood County Republican Executive Committee voted in favor of a primary.
Committee Chairman Greg Smith said the county GOP met Tuesday and voted in favor of returning to a state primary election. County Republicans will take the vote of the local committee to the state meeting and push for a state primary rather than a convention, like was held in 2008.
Smith said the committee had 17 members at its meeting Tuesday and voted 12-5 in favor of a primary.
"Two different groups for two different reasons came together to vote against a convention," he said.
Smith said there were some who simply didn't like the convention format and others who lacked confidence in state and other county officials to pull off a convention. Smith said there are more mandates associated with the convention, which could make things difficult to pull together at a local level.
Under the convention format, state Republicans vote for their party's nominee in the May primary. The winner receives all of the state's delegates. In 2008, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee defeated Mitt Romney after delegates for John McCain were instructed to throw their support to Huckabee.
Republicans reason a convention would allow the state's voter to choose a presidential candidate before the primaries across the nation are in full swing and the frontrunners are established. The convention process also excluded a large percentage of the party's voters through its on-line registration process.
The party made changes to the convention process to make it more inclusive to those who felt alienated by the process in 2008. Smith said the state's steering committee tried to be more inclusive in its new rules and procedures regarding a convention. The new rules and procedures require advertising and conducting county elections prior to the actual convention.
"There is still a lot of concern about the minutiae and the ability of some of these counties that would be mandated to advertise and have convention or county elections," he said.
The Wood County GOP committee's lack of support for a convention could be a harbinger for the weekend vote. Wood County is a Republican stronghold in Democrat-dominated state.
Smith said Wood County is not alone in supporting a return to a primary election. He said a number of county party chairs are against the convention for a wide variety of reasons.
The state's GOP Executive Committee will vote this week on whether to hold a convention or have the process done through the primary. The 150-member committee will vote on the issue at its summer meeting on Saturday in Shepherdstown.