Shaun Kenney, a spokesman for the state party, said it came up with the loyalty pledge because conservatives do not want Democrats to infiltrate GOP nominating contests to vote for other candidates. But GOP officials decided yesterday that they could forgo the pledge this year because Democrats are also holding their primary Feb. 12.
“It didn’t make sense to insist on a statement of support when you’ve got Democrats voting on the same day,” said Mary Gail Swenson of Sterling, a member of the central committee.
Would Democrats have been allowed to vote in a GOP primary held a week later if they’d already voted in the Democratic primary a week before? Presumably not. In which case, how is it better to have them voting on the same day? They’ve got to choose which primary they want to vote in, and since they’re already planning on going to the polls that day, it’s a simple matter of a ballot switch when they get there. The smart thing would have been to reschedule the GOP primary for a week later and let the Democratic primary voters disqualify themselves on the 12th. The turnout would give you a sense of how many Dems and independents might be holding back and waiting to vote in the GOP primary instead.