Conservatives in 9 States Call for Closed Primaries by 2024

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Conservative leaders in Georgia and Ohio are spearheading calls for Republicans to close their state primaries and allow only voters registered with their parties to participate in inter-party preliminary elections.

Atlanta Tea Party co-founder and President Debbie Dooley and Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci both told The Epoch Times that Democrats are “weaponizing” crossover voting to skew outcomes in key GOP primaries across the country either to ensure the election of moderates or to nominate candidates unlikely to be successful in a general election.

Dooley, Renacci, and other conservatives are calling on Republican lawmakers in their states to close primaries to only those registered with parties.

They join the leaders of conservative groups and GOP legislators in at least seven other states—including Alabama, Montana, Missouri, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Wyoming, and Texas—who are lobbying for more restrictive primary elections before the 2024 election cycle.

Tide of ‘Crossovers’

“Democrats did mischief” in Georgia, Dooley said, citing analyses from The Associated Press and Landmark Communications that estimate anywhere from 67,000 to 85,000 voters who cast ballots in the state’s 2020 Democratic primaries voted in Republican primaries on May 24, 2022.

The analyses confirmed conservatives’ contention that a Democrat-orchestrated tide of “crossover” votes proved decisive as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger garnered the required 50 percent in the GOP primary to avoid a runoff against Trump-backed challenger Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.).

Dooley, the national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, said that unless Georgia tightens its primary rules, Democrats will continue to meddle in GOP primaries, especially to undermine candidates backed by former President Donald Trump.

“In 2024, if he is on the ballot, [Democrats] could use this as a weapon to stop Trump in the GOP primary,” she said.

Dooley said she has drafted a petition that calls for the state to revise its primary rules to require participants be registered with a party for 60 days prior to participating in a primary.

By John Haughey

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