Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Washington Republicans to Caucus on March 3

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The Washington State Republican Party has chosen to begin its delegate selection process on March 3 with precinct caucuses. A straw poll of presidential preference will be conducted at those meetings as well but the true delegate allocation -- as has been the case in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and Wyoming -- will take place in subsequent steps in the process. In Washington, that will happen at the state convention in Tacoma during the first weekend in June. But like the rest of the caucus states above, Washington, too, will have a pre-window start to its delegate selection process, but avoid penalty due to the fact that no delegates are allocated at the precinct level.

Former Washington State Republican Party Chair Chris Vance had this to say about the Republican delegate selection in the Evergreen state:  

And where does Washington state fit in all of this?  With the cancellation of the primary election, 40 of our 43 national delegates will be allocated by the caucus/convention process.  Unlike the Democrats’ super delegate system, the only Republicans guaranteed a seat at the convention are members of the RNC. State Chairman Kirby Wilbur and our two National Committee members, therefore, are automatic delegates.  Everyone else has to get elected.

The process will start with precinct caucuses on Saturday, March 3.  Most county and legislative district party organizations are now choosing to pool multiple caucuses in public locations, such as high schools, rather than in people’s homes.  Any registered voter can attend a caucus as long as they are willing to sign a form pledging not to participate in any other party’s nomination process.  At each caucus two or three attendees will be elected as delegates to the next step in the process, which is the legislative district caucus in King County, the county convention in the rest of the state.

A presidential straw poll will be taken at the precinct caucuses and the state party will release the results.  Those results will be meaningless.  The straw poll will have nothing to do with who ultimately wins Washington’s delegates, but the media will announce a “winner” on March 3, just as they erroneously announced Pat Robertson as the winner in Washington state in 1988.

Washington Republicans will caucus the Saturday before Super Tuesday in 2012. The party held precinct caucuses the Saturday after Super Tuesday in 2008.

There still is no official word of this from the WSRP, but this does follow a mention of the March 3 date in a Washington Times article last week and in the September message from the Kitsap County Republican Party chair. Of course, the official word is not entirely necessary other than to get some handle on when the decision was made. FHQ is still trying to determine that. We will share that information when and if it becomes available.

A tip of the cap to FHQ reader, MysteryPolitico for sharing the Washington Times article and Kitsap County links with us.

UPDATE: More from the Washington Secretary of State's office.

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