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§ 24.2-509 Party to determine method of nominating its candidates for office; exceptions

Overview of Statute

This section gives parties the right to determine their method of nominating their candidates for office. Exceptions are also contained in this section.

Statute

A. The duly constituted authorities of the state political party shall have the right to determine the method by which a party nomination for a member of the United States Senate or for any statewide office shall be made. The duly constituted authorities of the political party for the district, county, city, or town in which any other office is to be filled shall have the right to determine the method by which a party nomination for that office shall be made.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A, the following provisions shall apply to the determination of the method of making party nominations. A party shall nominate its candidate for election for a General Assembly district where there is only one incumbent of that party for the district by the method designated by that incumbent, or absent any designation by him by the method of nomination determined by the party. A party shall nominate its candidates for election for a General Assembly district where there is more than one incumbent of that party for the district by a primary unless all the incumbents consent to a different method of nomination. A party, whose candidate at the immediately preceding election for a particular office other than the General Assembly (i) was nominated by a primary or filed for a primary but was not opposed and (ii) was elected at the general election, shall nominate a candidate for the next election for that office by a primary unless all incumbents of that party for that office consent to a different method.

When, under any of the foregoing provisions, no incumbents offer as candidates for reelection to the same office, the method of nomination shall be determined by the political party.

For the purposes of this subsection, any officeholder who offers for reelection to the same office shall be deemed an incumbent notwithstanding that the district which he represents differs in part from that for which he offers for election.

Code 1950, §§ 24-348, 24-361, 24-363, 24-364; 1970, c. 462, §§ 24.1-171, 24.1-172; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 119; 1973, c. 30; 1975, c. 515; 1978, c. 778; 1993, c. 641 .

Annotation: 03/24/2016 8:51 pm

Adams v. Alcorn, 5:15cv00012 (E.D.Va. 4/2/2015), rejected on standing grounds a challenge to Virginia’s incumbent protection statute.

Definition [United States]

Used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See § 24.2-452.

Definition [Political party]

An organization of citizens of the Commonwealth which, at either of the two preceding statewide general elections, received at least 10 percent of the total vote cast for any statewide office filled in that election. The organization shall have a state central committee and an office of elected state chairman which have been continually in existence for the six months preceding the filing of a nominee for any office.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [General election]

An election held in the Commonwealth on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November or on the first Tuesday in May for the purpose of filling offices regularly scheduled by law to be filled at those times.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Statewide office]

The office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General.

See § 24.2-945.1.

Definition [Party]

An organization of citizens of the Commonwealth which, at either of the two preceding statewide general elections, received at least 10 percent of the total vote cast for any statewide office filled in that election. The organization shall have a state central committee and an office of elected state chairman which have been continually in existence for the six months preceding the filing of a nominee for any office.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See § 24.2-452.

Definition [Primary]

An election held for the purpose of selecting a candidate to be the nominee of a political party for election to office.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Candidate]

A person who seeks or campaigns for an office of the Commonwealth or one of its governmental units in a general, primary, or special election and who is qualified to have his name placed on the ballot for the office. “Candidate” shall include a person who seeks the nomination of a political party or who, by reason of receiving the nomination of a political party for election to an office, is referred to as its nominee. For the purposes of Chapters 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.), 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.), and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any write-in candidate. However, no write-in candidate who has received less than 15 percent of the votes cast for the office shall be eligible to initiate an election contest pursuant to Article 2 (§ 24.2-803 et seq.) of Chapter 8. For the purposes of Chapters 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any person who raises or spends funds in order to seek or campaign for an office of the Commonwealth, excluding federal offices, or one of its governmental units in a party nomination process or general, primary, or special election; and such person shall be considered a candidate until a final report is filed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-947 et seq.) of Chapter 9.3.

See § 24.2-101.

Cases

Virginia Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia

Citation: 517 U.S. 186

Federal District Court:

Year: 1996

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/1b0404b6f24f463d2d8a94238ebf7fa4

Case Summary: Holding that political party was “acting under authority explicitly or implicitly granted by a covered jurisdiction,” for purposes of regulation making political party's change that affects voting subject to Voting Rights Act's preclearance requirement, when it adopted the delegate fee for the state convention; delegate fee was change that related to public electoral function of party and party exercised delegated state power when it certified its nominee for automatic placement on Virginia's general election ballot.

Case Name: Miller v. Brown

Citation: 465 F. Supp. 2d 584

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/999ac10fa567a3fb9a0e3725e21935f4

Case Summary: Holding that when a political party’s discretion was foreclosed by an incumbent’s selection of a forced open primary, the effect undermined the party’s right of free association.

Case Name: Miller v. Brown

Citation: 503 F.3d 360

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2007

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/b655da2195531de395edfa7325d1b84e

Case Summary: Holding that when an incumbent state senator designated a primary as the method of nomination and the senator’s political committee chose to exclude primary voters who previously participated in the nomination process of other political parties, Virginia’s open primary law was unconstitutional as applied to the political committee and its chairman because it severely burdened the associational rights of the committee and its chairman. Virginia did not have a compelling state interest in preserving open primaries, because (1) the state already allowed closed presidential primaries; (2) there was no indication that the restrictions proposed by the committee would have violated federal law; (3) preserving an individual’s privacy regarding political preferences was not a compelling state interest; and (4) encouraging voter participation did not justify the burden that the open primary law placed on the right of association.

Case Name: 24th Senatorial Dist. Republican Committee v. Alcorn

Citation: 820 F.3d 624

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2016

Case PDF: 24th Senatorial District Republican Committee v. Alcorn

Case Summary: Holding that Republican legislative district committee and candidate challenging incumbent did not have standing to sue the Commonwealth for a declaration that the Incumbent Protection Act (allowing incumbents instead of parties to designate method of nomination) violated their First Amendment and equal protection rights.