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On Electoral Mandates

May 20, 2011 - Joselyn King
When a candidate gets 45 percent of the vote in an eight candidate primary race, wouldn't it seem that candidate has a mandate going in to the general election?

Perhaps not, when statewide voter turnout for the primary election is just 15.4 percent.

I'm not always the best at math, but that pretty much tells me only about 7 percent of the electorate is behind the winning candidate.

It could be more, but how do we know when more than 84 percent of voters don't care enough to make a choice.

Businessman Bill Maloney -- a first-time political candidate -- received 45 percent of the vote while winning the GOP nomination for West Virginia governor in a special primary election for governor May 14.

This may portend heavily that voters want a non-politican as their next governor. Or maybe it was just that 7 percent who went to the polls?

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin won the six-candidate Democratic ticket with over 40 percent of the vote. He has been a fixture in state government since first being elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1974.


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