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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: caucus

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May 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Washington State Democratic Legislative District Caucus: grassroots participation refreshing element of election process

While attendance at the WA Democratic Legislative District Caucus did not compare to 2008, those who came seeking delegate seats demonstrated an authentic approach to grassroots political engagement.

REDMOND I knew the 45th District Democrat precinct caucus on April 15th wouldn’t be the same as in 2008.  Back then, I, along with a mighty contingent, was excited about Hillary Clinton becoming president.  Others in attendance were equally excited about electing Barack Obama.

The auditorium at Evergreen Jr. High School was crowded and latecomers had to park at the nearby Elementary school, on the street or anywhere they could find a place to park.

Families came in packs: fathers carrying their daughters on their shoulders, moms holding their kids hands, all in tow.  It was an evening full of emotion and pride to be an American.  Well, ok, I was full of emotion.

We all shared an overwhelming desire for change.  We were actively pursuing and indulging in our right to vote — to have a say in the political process.  There was a sense of unity and within the unity a belief that change was possible.

Evergreen Jr. High School, ready for democratic caucus on April 15, 2012 (photo by Linda Jacobson)

Jump to 2012.

As UWEE reported last month, precinct caucus attendance was lowerMuch lower.  In my case, the same auditorium dwarfed the 20 or so inside — most of them committed to re-electing Barack Obama. Due to the low turnout, there was no competition if you wanted to be a delegate to the April 28 Legislative District Caucus.

While attendance at the Legislative District also caucus paled in comparison to 2008, there were many vying for the 27 delegate seats allocated to Legislative District for the King County Convention the following day.

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0 Comments | More in State | Topics: 45th Legislative Distict, Barack Obama, campaign oddities

April 16, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Light turnout at Seattle-area Democratic caucuses may signal apathy, overconfidence, or a sunny day

With reporting by Alicia Halberg and Stephanie Kim

Democrats held their legislative caucuses on Sunday to help decide the party’s platform and select the presidential nominee. With Obama guaranteed the nomination, many simply didn’t see any point in attending.

Caucus sign fail at Beacon Hill International School (Photo by Dan Thornton/UW Election Eye)

Caucus sign fail at Beacon Hill International School (Photo by Dan Thornton/UW Election Eye)

Ballard

Only 24 people showed up for the meeting of Washington’s 36th legislative district caucuses at Whittier Elementary in Ballard, where 15 precincts met to caucus.

Alice Woldt, former chairwoman of the King County Democratic Party and former chair of the 36th district Democrats, convened the caucuses at Whittier. She said the district had tried to reach out to potential caucus-goers using local media, calling those who came out in 2008, robocalls in the area, and having caucus officers talk to their neighbors.

“With all of the media attention on the other party, we need to build up energy and enthusiasm, otherwise people won’t think that we’ve got anything going on,” Woldt said.

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0 Comments | More in Local | Topics: Ballard, Barack Obama, Beacon Hill

March 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Thousands at Ada County caucus make history, embrace 2012, put Idaho on Republican map

BOISE — “Wow, all the way from Seattle? I knew we were a big deal!” said one Republican at the Ada County caucus. That’s the reaction we heard covering the caucuses this past week from Sandpoint all the way down to Boise, Idaho. Our 1,400 mile trip showed us that not only were Republicans energetic about…

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0 Comments | Topics: caucus, Caucuses, caucuses

March 7, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Part Two: Ada County caucus had a festival feel

BOISE — With 9,050 voters, over a hundred volunteers, a live band, and endless concession stands selling popcorn, Ada County’s inaugural caucus felt a lot like a carnival. The crowd would spontaneously erupt in “Ron Paul” and “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt” chants or break out The Wave. The applause was deafening and the chorus of voices singing the National Anthem was beautiful. Little kids danced by the stage and attendees chatted with their favorite local politicians and radio personalities.

Though not everyone was happy with Mitt Romney’s 51.79% win, no one complained about the enthusiasm and camaraderie that filled the Taco Bell Arena. Below are a few photo that captured of the energy in America’s largest caucus thus far:

(Photo by Alicia Halberg/UW Election Eye)

These girls decked themselves in patriotic gear in preparation for their first caucus.

Tiny tots carry a paper Ron Paul banner.

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0 Comments | Topics: caucus, Caucuses, Delegates

March 7, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Romney emerges victorious in huge turnout at Ada County caucus: Part One

Over 9,000 voters crowded inside the Taco Bell Arena for Ada County's first caucus on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Black polling booths surrounded the stage and voters lined up to drop their penny tokens. (Photo by Ilona Idlis/UW Election Eye)

BOISE — Over 9,000 voters crowded inside the Taco Bell Arena on Super Tuesday for Ada County’s first ever caucus, where Mitt Romney secured all of Idaho’s 32 delegates. Ada County Chairman Dwight Johnson called it the “largest caucus in the history of the Republican Party.” The sharp 7 p.m. walk-in deadline was extended to accommodate the barrage of latecomers, and by the time attendance was established, half an hour had passed.

After a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, instructions, and stump speeches for each of the four candidates (Rick Santorum submitted a video message), the voting part of the event finally got under way. Caucus goers lined up according to the stamps on their wristbands at various polling booths around the stadium. I use the term “booth” loosely, since voting space was just a few gauze black curtains. Inside was a table with four buckets. Each bucket had a candidate’s name taped to it.

As voters entered, volunteers handed them a token — a shiny, new Lincoln penny — to place inside the bucket of their choice. On their way out, another volunteer marked their hands with a blue marker to signify they had voted in the first round.

It took about an hour to filter through everyone sitting in two tiers of bleachers. A few county officials counted all 9,050 pennies — by hand.

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0 Comments | Topics: Ada County, caucus, Caucuses

March 6, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Exclusive: Interview with Idaho Governor Butch Otter

Idaho Governor Butch Otter chats with an attendee at pro-Mitt Romney Meet and Greet event in Coeur D'Alene on Monday, March 5.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter chats with an attendee at a Mitt Romney Meet and Greet event in Coeur D'Alene on Monday, March 5. (Photo by Ilona Idlis/UW Election Eye)

COEUR D’ALENE –The hundred or so people gathered inside the Coeur D’Alene Resort Hotel for a Mitt Romney rally greeted Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter like an old friend.

Moments after strolling inside the convention hall, the Governor got a warm hug from Donna Montgomery, an event volunteer and long time member of Kootenai County Republican Women Federated. As the two walked toward the room, the Governor’s arm around Mongomery’s shoulders, she joked that Otter should be the one running for president.

“You know, I was up there for six years and didn’t like it much,” he retorted, reflecting on his six years in Washington D.C. as a congressman.

After shaking hands with me and Alicia Halberg — the only visible press at the event — the Governor disappeared inside the meeting hall and Montgomery nudged me with her elbow.

“Isn’t he cool,” she beamed.

Clad in jeans, a dress shirt with monogrammed “Butch” cuffs, American flag cuff links, and an enormous gilded belt buckle, the Governor carried himself a bit like a cowboy. He exuded a likability reminiscent of George W. Bush’s good ol’ boy charm. Aw shucks. I found myself agreeing with Montgomery.

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0 Comments | Topics: Butch Otter, caucus, Caucuses

March 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Ron Paul signs rule rural Idaho

BOISE–The four hour drive from tiny, freezing Grangeville to huge and sunny Boise is a roller coaster of terrain, temperature and elevation. As Alicia Halberg wove her Chevy Blazer around the twists and turns of US 95, the views alternated between snowy cliffs and rolling yellow plains, the thermometer bounced from 23 to 42 degrees…

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0 Comments | Topics: caucus, Caucuses, Idaho

March 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Idaho's Turn: Closed caucus on Super Tuesday

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6.

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6. (Photo courtesy of idaho-republican-caucus.com)

SANDPOINT — Super Tuesday is upon us. With seven primaries, three caucuses, and 419 delegates at stake, the news media are rich with speculation. For the first time ever, the state of Idaho’s Republican Party gets to be part of the buzz.

Until this year, Idaho’s GOP determined its presidential and local nominee preferences with a primary in late May. At the presidential level, the 32 delegates chosen then attended the GOP National Convention with little allegiance to the candidates. Three quarters of the delegates were “soft pledged” (meaning they could change their minds) and the remaining 8 were simply “unpledged” — in other words, free agents.

The late season primary and the changeable delegates meant that Republican candidates rarely visited and few paid attention to the Gem State. Finally, the GOP got tired of being ignored and resolved to make its sizable number of delegates — more than Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada — count in 2012.

So last October, they instituted a caucus system and moved the date way, way up to Super Tuesday – not an uncommon move for states who want more of an early say in the nomination process. So, on Tuesday, 44 counties will open their doors to first-time caucus goers at 7 p.m. In accordance with Idaho’s new voter identification law, only registered Republicans with valid ID can participate.

After that, it gets complicated.

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0 Comments | Topics: Boise, Butch Otter, caucus

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