John Stone correctly identified the problem this week. But his proposed solution appears not to have been the right one.
While many of us reflexively liked the 12th Congressional District candidate’s suggestion that the GOP get together and decide to back one candidate in an increasingly crowded field, the idea got a stone-cold reception from the other candidates. And for good reason.
Certainly, his point that a protracted primary will leave the Republican nominee weakened and resource-poor in the general election against Democrat incumbent John Barrow is spot-on.
But it may have been unrealistic to expect candidates to agree to draw straws – or have a party caucus do it for them – rather than continue competing for votes.
For one thing, all the candidates think they have something to offer, or they wouldn’t be running.
For another thing, lots of folks have given the candidates their own time and money and labor already. It could be considered quite unfair to those supporters and contributors for their candidate to agree to step aside before even reaching stride.
Stone’s suggestion might have been more realistic earlier in the process. But once the runners are at the starting blocks, it’s probably too late to ask them to withdraw.
We know John Stone, and believe his motivations were the best interests of the party, district and nation – notwithstanding the fact that Stone is a leading candidate, and stood an excellent chance of being the consensus candidate he was proposing.
But through debates and canvassing and polling, a consensus candidate will naturally emerge. Ultimately, it will be up to voters to decide whom to back. And that’s as it should be.
Besides, Republicans and conservatives are always touting the benefits of competition. They’ll just have to put their money and support where their mouths are.