Effort to move 2016 state primary falters

SEATAC — An attempt by Republicans to move up the date of next year’s presidential primary fizzled Tuesday when Democratic Party leaders refused to go along.

Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman asked a panel of party leaders to conduct the vote in early March rather than late May to boost Washington’s clout in the national nominating process but only the GOP representatives supported her.

As a result, the primary will be held May 24, one of the last on the political calendar.

“I am very, very disappointed,” Wyman said after the meeting of the bipartisan Presidential Primary Committee empowered to set the date of the election. “By the end of May almost 80 percent of the (nation’s) population will have already cast their ballot. I’m not sure the voters will think it’s a meaningful vote.”

Tuesday’s setback should come as no surprise.

The state Democratic Party decided months ago to ignore the primary results and allocate its 103 presidential delegates at its March 26 caucuses. Their leaders argued Tuesday for doing away with the statewide vote and spending the $11.5 million it will cost to put on elsewhere.

“We want a process that is meaningful for the voters and the primary is not that,” party Chairman Jaxon Ravens said.

And state Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, worried Democratic voters could be confused by a March primary and wrongfully believe “they are choosing delegates and they are not.”

The Republican Party, meanwhile, will use the primary results to apportion half its delegates and caucuses for the other half. With a large field of candidates, their leaders said the March 8 date proposed by Wyman could lure many hopefuls to Washington to campaign.

“That is where we believe it is most advantageous for the voters of Washington state,” GOP Chairwoman Susan Hutchison said of the earlier date. “Republicans in this state want to vote and want to vote at a time when candidates will come to earn their vote.”

State law slates the primary for the fourth Tuesday in May which falls on May 24, 2016. By then, Wyman said, 45 states will have acted. March 8 would put it one week after Super Tuesday, when primaries and caucuses are planned in 12 states, and be among the earliest in the campaign.

She needed to convince six of nine members of the Presidential Primary Committee, a panel comprised of four representatives each from the Democratic and Republican parties and the legislative caucuses in the House and Senate. Wyman, a Republican, is chairwoman.

Attempts to move the date to March 8 and then March 22 failed on 5-4 party line votes.

Tuesday’s stalemate marked the latest skirmish in the somewhat difficult history of the state’s presidential primary.

A 1989 citizen initiative prompted its creation and Washington held its first primary in 1992. Since then there have been three more while two were canceled — in 2004 and 2012 — for financial reasons.

This year, Gov. Jay Inslee signaled his desire to cancel the 2016 vote when he didn’t provide funding for one in his initial budget proposal.

Wyman, meanwhile, wanted to permanently change the date and require both parties to use the results to apportion some of their delegates. That proposal failed.

Until Tuesday, Wyman said she was inclined to see the primary canceled if she could not get the date moved to March.

“My position changed in the meeting,” she said. “I think people will want to participate in the primary.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist identified in fatal crash near Lake Stevens

Anthony Palko, 33, died Monday night after colliding with a passenger car. The juveniles in the car were taken to the hospital.

Marysville
Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Mike Kersey with Aiya Moore, daughter of Christina Anderson, right, talk about the condition of Nick’s Place in Everett, Washington on June 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘We’re all good people when we get clean and sober’

Who has fentanyl taken from us? A messenger who saved lives. A “street mom.” A grandpa who loved his grandkids “999 trillion times.”

Snohomish County Superior Courthouse in Everett, Washington on February 8, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Bailiff’s comments leads to appeal of child rape conviction

Joseph Hall, of Snohomish, was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison. Now he faces another trial.

Jeffrey Vaughan
In unexpected move, Vaughan resigns from Marysville council

He got re-elected in November. But he and his wife moved to Texas when she received a job promotion.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How to answer Snohomish County’s basic crime questions? ‘Transparent data’

An initiative funded in part by Microsoft could reveal racial disparities, while creating an “apples to apples” database.

Chris Rutland and son Julian buy fireworks from the Big House of Boom stall at Boom City on Thursday, June 30, 2022 in Tulalip, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Tulalip’s Boom City, fireworks are a family tradition

Generations have grown up at the Fourth of July institution. “Some people make good money, some are just out here for the pastime.”

Most Read