State’s GOP caucuses getting attention from candidates

OLYMPIA — Republicans are preparing for caucuses this week that really matter to the four men battling to be the party’s presidential nominee.

Though it’s a non-binding straw poll with no delegates at stake, Saturday’s caucuses will give the top vote-getter bragging rights and whatever momentum those provide heading into contests in 10 states on March 6.

And in the see-saw marathon involving Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, a little momentum can mean a lot.

“There is a buzz. This time Washington will be relevant,” said Bothell’s Republican mayor, Mark Lamb.

All four candidates sense it, too. Each is visiting Washington in advance of the caucuses — a historic rarity — bringing with them national media attention.

“Everybody would like to do pretty well here,” Gingrich told reporters in Olympia on Friday morning. “We want to do well enough that people see that I’m genuinely competitive. Super Tuesday (March 6) is going to be an important day.”

The kinetic energy generated by the campaigns will cause participation to soar, said state Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur.

“People are excited. I expect record attendance,” he said. With the state’s presidential primary canceled, this is the only chance Republicans in Washington have to say who they want the GOP nominee to be, he said.

Given the rollercoaster nature of the campaign thus far, neither Wilbur nor Snohomish County Republican Party Chairman Bill Cooper would forecast which candidate they believe will be claiming victory Saturday.

Cooper said he senses Republicans in Snohomish County are “as polarized” in their choices as Republicans have been in other states.

“It will be interesting to see the count. There doesn’t seem to be a nominee standing out,” Cooper said. “So I don’t think we’ll have anybody dominate.”

Paul’s supporters established a presence among the rank-and-file four years ago and remain well organized, he said. Romney began organizing last year, and Santorum and Gingrich have become more earnest in recent weeks.

Santorum, Paul and Gingrich each drew hundreds of people to events this month, and Romney expects a large crowd when he visits Bellevue next week.

Four years ago, none of the presidential candidates dominated here.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the eventual Republican Party nominee, edged out former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the statewide totals. Paul finished third and Romney fourth. But Huckabee topped all candidates in Snohomish County, followed by McCain, Paul and Romney.

This Saturday’s caucuses will be conducted from 10 a.m. to noon on school campuses and in community buildings throughout Snohomish and Island counties.

Each precinct holds its own caucus. You can find out where to go on the county Republican Party website, www.snocogop.org. For people in Island County, go to islandcountygop.com.

It’s simple to participate. You must be registered to vote. You also must be willing to sign a form saying you “consider yourself to be a Republican” and you will not be taking part in the nominating caucuses of any other political party. Democrats are caucusing in April.

Now comes the key part for the quartet of GOP hopefuls.

When you sign in, you also will be writing in the name of the presidential candidate you prefer. If you don’t have one, you can write “undecided.”

Preferences will be tallied and totals announced by the state party in the late afternoon or early evening.

The main task Saturday is getting the party started on the road to picking delegates to the Republican National Convention in August in Tampa, Fla.

Washington will send 43 delegates. Three already are set: the party chairman and the two national committee members. The remaining 40 will be selected at the state party convention June 2 in Tacoma.

To be one of those, you must be elected a delegate at the precinct caucus level, then again at the county convention. (The Snohomish County convention of Republicans is March 31 at Snohomish High School; Island County’s is March 24 at Oak Harbor High School.) Washington is not a winner-take-all state, so more than one presidential candidate could end up with a share of delegates if enough of their supporters make it through the process.

Tom Tangen, who lives just outside Edmonds, took part in the 2008 caucuses. He said he’s expecting it’s going to be a bigger event this year because of the energy of the candidates.

“I think Republicans are really happy with four very good candidates, and (President Barack) Obama’s record is creating lots of enthusiasm,” he said. “I’m excited because attending a caucus, your voice means so much more than in a primary.”

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

Washington caucuses

Who: Republicans

What: Precinct caucuses

When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday; doors open at 9 a.m.

Where: In Snohomish County, check www.snocogop.com and in Island County check islandcountygop.com.

How to caucus

It’s easy. You must be a registered voter and willing to sign a form saying you “consider yourself to be a Republican” and you will not be taking part in the nominating caucuses of any other political party.

When you sign in you also will write in the name of the presidential candidate you prefer. A tally of the results will produce a winner of the straw poll.

The bulk of the caucus will be spent electing delegates to the March 24 Island County Convention and March 31 Snohomish County Convention.

For more information, go to wsrpcaucus.tumblr.com/faq or www.wsrp.org.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Everett Fire Department and Everett Police on scene of a multiple vehicle collision with injuries in the 1400 block of 41st Street. (Photo provided by Everett Fire Department)
1 seriously injured in crash with box truck, semi truck in Everett

Police closed 41st Street between Rucker and Colby avenues on Wednesday afternoon, right before rush hour.

The Arlington Public Schools Administration Building is pictured on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
$2.5M deficit in Arlington schools could mean dozens of cut positions

The state funding model and inflation have led to Arlington’s money problems, school finance director Gina Zeutenhorst said Tuesday.

Lily Gladstone poses at the premiere of the Hulu miniseries "Under the Bridge" at the DGA Theatre, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mountlake Terrace’s Lily Gladstone plays cop in Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’

The true-crime drama started streaming Wednesday. It’s Gladstone’s first part since her star turn in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Jesse L. Hartman (Photo provided by Everett Police Department)
Everett man who fled to Mexico given 22 years for fatal shooting

Jesse Hartman crashed into Wyatt Powell’s car and shot him to death. He fled but was arrested on the Mexican border.

Snow is visible along the top of Mount Pilchuck from bank of the Snohomish River on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Washington issues statewide drought declaration, including Snohomish County

Drought is declared when there is less than 75% of normal water supply and “there is the risk of undue hardship.”

Boeing Quality Engineer Sam Salehpour, right, takes his seat before testifying at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs - Subcommittee on Investigations hearing to examine Boeing's broken safety culture with Ed Pierson, and Joe Jacobsen, right, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Everett Boeing whistleblower: ‘They are putting out defective airplanes’

Dual Senate hearings Wednesday examined allegations of major safety failures at the aircraft maker.

An Alaska Airline plane lands at Paine Field Saturday on January 23, 2021. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)
Alaska Airlines back in the air after all flights grounded for an hour

Alaska Airlines flights, including those from Paine Field, were grounded Wednesday morning. The FAA lifted the ban around 9 a.m.

A Mukilteo firefighter waves out of a fire truck. (Photo provided by Mukilteo Fire Department)
EMS levy lift would increase tax bill $200 for average Mukilteo house

A measure rejected by voters in 2023 is back. “We’re getting further and further behind as we go through the days,” Fire Chief Glen Albright said.

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
To combat fentanyl, Snohomish County trickles out cash to recovery groups

The latest dispersal, $77,800 in total, is a wafer-thin slice of the state’s $1.1 billion in opioid lawsuit settlements.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.