OLYMPIA — There will be no presidential primary in Washington state next year. A law signed Thursday cancels the primary mandated by a voter initiative in 1989.
That move will save the state general operating budget an estimated $10 million for an election that Washington Democrats have never used to pick presidential delegates and Washington Republicans have only partly used.
The parties will use precinct caucuses, as they did for decades before voters approved the initiative, and have held onto despite the support the presidential primary has from state officials like Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov. Chris Gregoire.
Although the law passed both houses with bipartisan support, Reed was the only one present Thursday when Gregoire signed the new law, which calls for the presidential primary to be reinstated in 2016.
The presidential primary was cancelled once before, in 2004, also to save money. The law doesn't affect the state's Top Two primary for state and local candidates seeking offices in the 2012 general election. That’s scheduled for early August.