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Name Recognition Key in GOP Primary

Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at University of Mary Washington, said GOP nominee George Allen has two things going in his favor for Tuesday's primary.

The people who turn out to vote in Tuesday's Republican Primary are the most motivated voters in Virginia.

"These are people who care enough to show up when most people are in all honesty [more] worried about graduations, and weddings and summer vacation plans than what’s on the ballot come November," said Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at University of Mary Washington.

Senate Republican Party primary voters across the state will choose among , , and . The winner will run against Democrat .

Farnsworth said George Allen has two advantages over his three opponents.

"The first is money. He was able to raise so much more than all of his Republican rivals, and the second is name recognition. An awful lot of people know who George Allen is. He was governor, he was a senator and he was a congressman before that and that makes him tough to beat."

With the polls showing a huge lead for Allen in this primary, Farnsworth said it is possible that people will show up to cast protest votes. Just how big is the anti-Allen vote, he asked.

"One of the big questions on Tuesday is will there be a big protest vote from Republicans who would much rather have a much more conservative than [have] Allen be the nominee?" Farnsworth said. 

Radtke is a tea party member and Marshall is a well-known conservative in his Prince William County districts. Jackson, an attorney, has less name recognition than all three of his opponents.

“There hasn’t been a lot of money that has been raised by the people who want to take that nomination from George Allen. Bob Marshall is well known in Prince William where he has been a state lawmaker for years, but his statewide recognition is pretty low," Farnsworth said.

Arnold Smithson June 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I would argue that the fact that the Democrats are already running ads against George Allen is a pretty strong signal that he's going to win fairly easily today. I am shocked that the Republicans couldn't do any better than Allen in what I would have guessed would be a winnable seat, but maybe I'm reading the tea leaves incorrectly.
Jsmith June 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I agree with you 100%. The Republicans could certainly have found a better candidate and it will be Allen or Kaine in November -- sadly, no good choices (at least from my perspective).

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