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Spin Control

Posts tagged: presidential primary

2012 Prez primary officially dead in Washington

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.

  

WA Lege Day 38: Joint memorial service in a.m.

OLYMPIA — The Legislature has a joint session this morning to hold a memorial for former members who have died in the last two years.

They also  have a full day of hearings as the clock runs out for the first “cut-off” day in which bills must either be out of their assigned committee in the chamber where they were introduced, or be consigned to the scrapheap of legislative history.

The House State Government Committee had an early morning hearing on cancelling the 2012 presidential primary to save the state about $10 million. Problem for the political parties is that would knock out the one partisan vehicle they would  have to elect precinct committee officers now that a judge has ruled they can't do that in a Top Two primary any more.

The Senate Higher Education Committee has an afternoon hearing on changes to the Guaranteed Education Tuition program, which would put some restrictions on how those pre-paid tuition credits can be used.

The House Local Government Committee looks at a bill to allow legal or official notices to be poste online, rather than printed in a local newspaper.

The Senate Judiciary Committee  has a hearing on a bill to regulate police surveillance of political groups.

It is also Tri-Cities Energy Day, Energy Independence Day and Native American Lobby Day, which includes a drumming circle on the North Steps of the Capitol at some point during the day.

Gregoire budget would dump presidential primary in 2012

OLYMPIA — One casualties of the state’s revenue gap in today’s budget proposal by Gov. Chris Gregoire would be Washington’s 2012 presidential preference primary.

The state estimates it would save about $10 million by scrapping the primary, which was mandated by voters in a 1989 initiative but has met with limited acceptance from the state’s two major political parties.

Democrats essentially ignore the results of the primary, choosing all of convention delegates through the precinct caucus through state convention system. Republicans have used varying formulas to award at least part of their delegates from the results of the primary and the rest from the caucuses. In 2008, the split was about half and half.

Along with saving money for a statewide mail-in ballot, it would also save the quadrennial jockeying to get a primary date that’s close enough to the beginning of the process that there’s still some doubt about the parties’  nominees, but not so close that Washington is clumped in with a bunch of states and dwarfed by them.

Washington is also the only state that has both a primary and caucuses and two different systems by the parties for apportioning presidential delegates.

State GOP Chairman Luke Esser, while giving Gregoire some credit for an overall budget that “is a step in the right direction toward fiscally responsible government,” was critical of cutting the primary, saying it contradicts the will of the people expressed in the initiative.

“And it disenfranchises military voters serving overseas and many other voters. The voice of the brave members of the armed forces fighting for freedom in faraway lands will be silenced because they can’t attend a preinct caucuses, as will the voices of those who must work during the caucus, who are home-ridden or tending sick children,” Esser said.

Probably an easy call for Gregoire, he added, because Democrats have always ignored the primary results.

But Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, said he reluctantly agreed with Gregoire the state can’t afford a primary in 2012 under current conditions. Reed said he hoped it would be back in 2016.

The state canceled the 2004 presidential primary to save about $6.8 million during a one-day special session in December 2003.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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