June 22, 2010 Leave a comment
So, Elaine Marshall defeated Cal Cunningham in the run-off primary for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat to take on Richard Burr. I voted for Cal in the original primary because the DSCC was behind him, and I figured that was good enough. He finished 9 points behind Marshall, who had a plurality but not the 40% necessary to avoid a run-off. If only Cal had conceded then, he could have avoided a very decisive 60-40 loss tonight, saved a lot of people time and effort, and allowed Marshall to put her resources towards defeating Richard Burr rather than him. I don’t really blame Cal much on this– the type of person to run for Senate is not generally the type to concede without a run-off. Mostly, I just think it’s a shame.
Today, I actually switched my vote to Marshall because the more I saw of Cal, the more he struck me as nothing more than a pretty face. Marshall doesn’t inspire me at all, but I sense some more depth there. I think the biggest factor in my switch was Cunningham’s attack on Marshall for having the temerity to suggest we might want to raise the retirement age for social security. Damn right we should raise this– we have a long term structural deficit to worry about. Naturally, Marshall backed off and emphasized the “study this” bit, but Cunningham’s suggestion that we cannot even talk about such things really bothered me.
The other reason for the title of my post was this whole stupid run-off anyway. I get that you want candidates who have a sizable amount of support, be it 40% or 50%, but there’s a much simpler way– instant run-off voting. Simply allow voters to rank the candidates the first and only time the go to the polls for an election. It’s ridiculous and wasteful to go through this whole campaign so that when I showed up at my precinct at 7p tonight, I was voter number 40. As you know, I’m not big fan of the typical voter, but if people get used to instant run-off and ranking preferences, they can surely handle it as well as the current system and save a lot of time, effort, and money in the process.