Monday, April 8, 2019

Washington State Democrats Opt for Presidential Primary Over Caucuses

It was decision time this past weekend as the Washington State Democratic Party convened in Pasco. Among the items on the agenda was delegate selection in 2020. Chiefly, the question before the Rules Committee on Saturday and the State Coordinating Committee on Sunday was whether the party would continue to use the caucus/convention system it has used to allocate and select delegates to the national convention throughout the post-reform era.

But a newly early and revamped semi-open presidential primary bill signed into law in March removed most of the conflicts the Democratic Party in the Evergreen state have historically had with the primary option available to Washington parties in the past. Moreover, the state party has been facing pressure from vocal Democrats in the state to make the process more democratic; something that was demonstrated by the over 93 percent support for the primary option in an unscientific poll open during the draft delegate selection plan public comment period. On top of that, the national party rules for the 2020 cycle urge state parties to increase participation and use state-run primaries where available.

In total, that was enough to nudge the Washington State Democratic Party to break with tradition. By a vote of 11-5 on Saturday, the Rules Committee recommended that the party shift to the primary option. That was followed on Sunday by 121-40 vote by the State Coordinating Committee in favor of a primary.

The decision officially moves Washington Democrats into a March 10 slot on the 2020 presidential primary calendar. That primary will coincide with contests in six other states including the primary in neighboring Idaho.

The Washington primary change is now reflected on the 2020 FHQ Presidential Primary Calendar.

1/16/19: Washington State Legislation Would Again Try to Move Presidential Primary to March

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