Bush has local support

Snohomish County Republicans voiced support for President Bush at GOP caucuses Tuesday night, saying he’s a strong leader who deserves to be re-elected.

"We’re excited about our president and are excited about the direction our country is going," said County GOP Central Committee Chairwoman Frauna Hoglund.

Democrats have dominated political news for months with the selection of John Kerry as their party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Now "it’s our turn," Hoglund said.

Even before the caucuses began at 8 p.m., the unchallenged President Bush crossed the necessary threshold of 1,255 delegates to wrap up the Republican nomination.

Bush had 1,309 delegates, according to an Associated Press count, eclipsing the 1,255 needed for the nomination on a night when voters in Texas — where Bush was governor — went to the polls.

No estimates were available late Tuesday of how many Republicans in Snohomish County attended caucuses, but attendance was expected to be low statewide.

Although the party’s presidential pick was clear from the beginning, the 25 Republicans who met at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett unanimously backed Bush.

"It comes down to leadership for me," said Mark Cercone, 31, an Everett airline mechanic and full-time student who attended the caucus. "President Bush has been dealt a tough hand and he’s handled it with strength, doing a better job than a lot of people could under the circumstances."

Republicans there joined others throughout the state in filling out a questionnaire from the state party asking for input on county and state platforms.

The questions sought their views on a range of issues, including civil unions and gay marriage, education, traffic, cutting taxes, abortion, ways to make Washington more business-friendly and medical malpractice.

Ron Tunnell, 56, of Everett, who owns Larry’s Plumbing, said taxes are one of the main reasons he votes Republican.

"By giving money back to people, (the economy) actually grows," he said, adding that the Republican party views on abortion and same-sex marriages were also important to him.

The local gatherings had another potential significance this year: If the Legislature approves a "Top 2" primary to replace the state’s blanket primary, delegates picked Tuesday night for county and legislative district conventions will be reconvened to nominate GOP legislative candidates, State GOP Chairman Chris Vance said.

In turn, the 1,425 state convention delegates could end up picking the party nominees for Senate, U.S. House and statewide offices, including governor, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reporter Katherine Schiffner: 425-339-3436 or


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