I’m not entirely sure why, with just a week to go and mail and early voting already started, but Quentin Palfrey announced today that he is suspending his campaign for Attorney General and has endorsed Andrea Campbell. Many, myself included, already have voted, and some of those votes, again mine included, were likely for Palfrey. Though his name is still on the ballot many who haven’t voted probably won’t vote for him now even if they were inclined to do so before. If he’s right about not having a path and likely to come in third, that will almost certainly be a self-fulfilling prophecy now. If we had RCV then my already cast vote for Palfrey would not be wasted and would be counted toward my second choice, which Palfrey’s endorsement notwithstanding would have been for Shannon Liss-Riordan. (I remain baffled that Campbell seems to have done so well. As activist as I am I didn’t know who she was until she announced and didn’t meet her until this summer, which is extremely unusual for me.)
I even wonder whether RCV legal language could include something like, “If, subsequent to the ballot being printed but prior to the close of business on the day before election day, a candidate certifies in writing to the Secretary of the Commonwealth that he no longer wishes to be considered for the office being sought, the ranking for that candidate shall be skipped in the counting and the ballot shall be credited to the candidate of the next highest ranking in that round.” For example, if we had RCV in this race I would have ranked Palfrey first, Liss-Riordan second, and Campbell third, but with this language rather than count my vote for Palfrey in the first round since he has withdrawn my first round vote would count for Liss-Riordan. Basically, the ballot would be treated as if that candidate’s name did not appear.