Sure, it'll have Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. But Washington's 2008 presidential primary ballot will also include folks like Democrat Mike Gravel (bring U.S. troops all home in 120 days, free health-care vouchers for all, end the federal income tax in favor of a national sales tax, allow same-sex marriage, end the criminalization of drugs) and Republican Alan Keyes (similar plan with the income tax and a national sales taxes, get the U.S. out of the United Nations, pro-death-penalty, anti-gay-rights).
So says Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, today releasing a preliminary list of candidates on the '08 presidential ballot. Under state law, Reed must pick potential nominees who are "generally advocated, or recognized by national media." Minor party candidates are nominated by their parties' conventions.
"There were a couple of people right on the cusp," said Reed, citing both Gravel (pronounced "gra-VELL") and Keyes. "I decided to err on the point of being inclusive rather than exclusive."
And Reed had a sad note for the Al Gore fans out there: "Very importantly, the candidate has to consent," he said. Reed's office keeps getting requests from folks who want to draft Gore, but to avail. "So far, he hasn't consented yet." (And it doesn't look likely: yesterday it was announced that Gore had joined a California venture-capital firm.)
Washington will vote in the primary on Feb. 19, a couple of weeks after most of the country. That was a calculated risk by Reed and Democratic and Republican leaders, who decided that the state had more clout to gain as a potential tie-breaker than jostling for candidates' attention in the first found alongside giants like California and New York.
For those of you -- like, perhaps, Prophet Atlantis -- who want to get on the presidential primary ballot yourself, there's still time. You can petition for a spot by getting signatures from 1,000 registered voters "who affiliate with" the GOP or Democratic Party. Deadline: Dec. 21, 2007.
Here's the 2008 ballot list so far: