Today is caucus day for Washington Republicans.
The ballot is a straw poll that provides a picture of where Republicans stand as they enter their caucuses.
Because of its timing, between two major primaries on Feb. 28 and Super Tuesday next week, the Washington caucuses drew attention from all four Republican candidates and prompted several campaign visits to the state.
Some questions and answers about today’s caucuses:
Q. Why do Washington’s Republican precinct caucuses seem to be getting so much attention?
A. Unlike other presidential election years, none of the GOP hopefuls seeking their party’s nomination has locked up the race yet, and Washington could be in a position to help tip the balance.
Q. What is a precinct caucus?
A. Republicans getting together in small groups to discuss politics, choose delegates to the upcoming county conventions and cast ballots in the state’s straw poll, which will give a nonbinding snapshot of how GOP candidates stack up among Washington voters.
Q. When and where are the caucuses?
A. All caucuses are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. today and must end by noon. The state Republican Party has a list of all caucus sites on its website at www.wsrp.org. But if you live in Spokane County, it might be easier to check the county Republican Central Committee’s site, www.spokanegop .com, or The Spokes- man-Review’s site, www.spokesman.com, where you can also find results of the straw poll as soon as they’re available.
Q. What about Democrats?
A. Washington Democrats will gather April 15, but with President Barack Obama seeking re-election to a second term there’s little question who will secure the party’s nomination.
Q. What about Idaho?
A. Republican caucuses in Idaho are part of next week’s Super Tuesday.