Washington Republicans start their convention process, and kind of back into their presidential selection process, with precinct caucuses on Saturday morning.
Forget what you learned about precinct caucuses from watching the coverage out of Iowa a few weeks ago. Forget what you learned about Washington precinct caucuses from attending one four, eight, 12 or however many years ago it was.
There will be no tallying of support for prospective presidential nominees, no straw poll of candidates, no system of any kind that will show how your precinct, legislative district, county, congressional district or state is leaning for the GOP hopefuls. None. Zip. Nada.
This being a political gathering, it would be silly to think no one will be talking about the pluses and minuses of the candidates who remain in the hunt for the nomination. But the meetings this time around will be focused on political issues and picking delegates to the county convention, which in turn will adopt platforms and pick delegates to the state convention, where delegates will be selected for the national convention.
Those national convention delegates will be selected a few days before Washington holds its presidential preference primary on May 24, and the candidates will be awarded a delegate count for the first ballot based on their showing in the primary. After that first ballot -- if there are subsequent ballots, which Republicans haven't seen since shortly after Joe Louis beat Jersey Joe Walcott* -- the delegates selected at the state convention will be free to support whomever they want.
Caucuses happen all over the place. They are likely not where you used to vote, if you still remember back when Washington residents went to the polls. The local party picks a gathering spot for each of the hundreds of precincts, usually in a school, community center, church basement or some other public spot. All the caucuses start at 10 a.m.
To find your caucus location, click here and fill out the form. It will tell you where your precinct is gathering.
What about Democrats, you may be asking. They don't meet until March 26. We'll have details about their caucuses -- they're different and will be starting the presidential selection process -- closer to the date.
* Random sports reference for the summer of 1948.