The Norman Transcript


November 20, 2013

Former Congressman calls for change in political party power



Edwards said that everyone in the state believed Mike Castle, governor of Delaware from 1985 to 1992, would be elected as their next senator. However, Castle was defeated in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat by Christine O’Donnell. She won the primary with 30,000 votes and won the general election.

He said Castle would have been strongly favored in the general election and easily won against Democrat Chris Coons, so why didn’t Castle run in the general election?

“Because of a sore loser law, which says if you don’t win the primary, you can’t be on the general election ballot,” he said.

There are one million people in Delaware, and 30,000 people decided who their next senator would be. Forty-six states have sore loser laws, including Oklahoma, Edwards said. He cited similar situations. In Utah, Robert Bennett was defeated in a primary that only represented a fraction of Utah’s population. In Texas, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was defeated by Ted Cruz in a primary.

“Why do they (Congress) not reflect us? Because we don’t elect them,” he said. “It’s small tiny subsets of the population that know if you sit down and cooperate with the other side, you’re going to get ‘primary-ied’ and knocked off. We need to restore democracy to our democracy.”

More people than both Democrats and Republicans are registering as Independents, Edwards said. The state of Washington has already ended party primaries and a party’s ability to redraw district lines. This means all candidates run on the same ballot and everyone votes.

In 2010, the state of California also got rid of primaries. And Edwards said similar bills have been introduced in other states, like Colorado and Texas. Edwards said he is not suggesting that we should completely get rid of political parties, but he thinks they should be turned into something similar to a rotary club.

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