Unhappy with a court ruling that requires a change in Washington’s primary, state Democrats said Monday they will hold conventions to nominate their candidates for partisan offices this year.
The move, which is part of a long-running battle between the parties and state elections officials over the state’s first-ever Top Two Primary, could result in added confusion for voters and means extra meetings for party officials.
State Republicans are also studying whether they want to hold nominating conventions. The practical effect of the Democrats’ decision is hard to gauge at this time.
Democratic State Chairman Dwight Pelz said the conventions are necessary because the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the state primary initiative took away the influence parties can have in naming their candidates. Democrats will try to regain some control by having precinct officers attend nominating conventions for legislative, county and congressional seats. For statewide offices, delegates to the state convention will be asked which candidate they support.
“We don’t want precinct committee officers to nominate candidates, we want the public to do that. But that’s been taken away from us,” Pelz said.