Changes to WA primary make it a real contender

Carmen Jaramillo
cjaramillo@ptleader.com
Posted 2/19/20

Changes to the Washington State Democrats’ delegate apportioning process this election cycle aim to make the state more competitive in the 2020 presidential primary.

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Changes to WA primary make it a real contender

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Changes to the Washington State Democrats’ delegate apportioning process this election cycle aim to make the state more competitive in the 2020 presidential primary.

Rule changes adopted last year will see Washington state’s 89 delegates committed to candidates through the primary election instead of the caucus process. This might draw more candidates to campaign in Washington, said Bruce Cowan, 24th Legislative District Democrat chair.

Voters will receive their mail-in ballots this month and must return them by March 10, marking their one preferred candidate and party declaration. In past years delegates were assigned through a delegate caucus and the primary ballot was essentially superfluous, Cowan said.

This year they will use percentage results to apportion delegates. So if a candidate gets 50% of the vote they will receive 50% of the delegates. Candidates must get at least 15% to receive any delegates.

In 2016, more Washington state residents participated in the primary ballot versus the caucus, Cowan said, so these changes seek to be more democratic by representing the wants of more people.

To win the Democratic Party nomination a candidate must receive approximately 1,990 of 3,979 pledged delegates. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeg leads with 22 delegates, followed closely by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 21and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with eight.

The next primary election is Feb. 22 in Nevada, which will assign 36 delegates, followed by the South Carolina primary, which will assign 54 delegates.

March 3, otherwise known as “Super Tuesday,” will see 1,344 delegates assigned from 14 states. The Washington state primary takes place on March 10 alongside several other states, with a total of 365 delegates.

Voters in Washington might want to wait to cast their vote until after Super Tuesday Cowan said, because depending on how those primaries shake out, several candidates may suspend their campaigns if they cannot see a clear path to the nomination.

Thirteen Democratic Party candidates, including several who have already suspended their campaigns, will appear on the ballot. One Republican candidate, incumbent President Donald Trump, will appear on the ballot with an option to write in an alternate candidate.

Voters who have not made up their minds may choose to send uncommitted delegates, who will be pledged at the national convention.

It is on May 3 when Jefferson County registered Democrats will begin electing delegates to the state and then national conventions.

The state convention takes place June 11–14 at the Tacoma Convention Center.

The national convention is July 13–16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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