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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: WA Caucuses

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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.


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

May 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Conservative poet preaches liberty, freedom

A die-hard conservative finds his activism niche through writing and distributing patriotic poetry.

Roger W. Hancock was not a founding father. You might be confusing him with two men with their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, Roger Sherman and John Hancock, a confusion the real Roger W. Hancock is quick to clarify.

Roger W. Hancock is the PoetPatriot, a man I met at the King County Republican Convention last weekend, and a unique character among many in this election year.

He’s hard to not run into at a Republican Convention. Ever since becoming a Republican in 1988, he’s been a Precinct Committee Officer and has been to every convention since. His pin-laden, American flag waving hat sticks out from the masses, and you couldn’t even get in the door without getting a sheet with his poems on it.


Comments | More in Culture, Local | Topics: conservatives, Election 2012, Republicans

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)


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.


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

April 14, 2012 at 8:58 AM

UW Election Eye hits the road

UW Election Eye is travel bound, with trips today and next week from the West to the East Coast. Today and tomorrow multiple groups of UW Election Eye reporters will be striking out across Washington State to cover important issues and concerns from a citizen’s perspective. Today we will be heading north to Bellingham and the Canadian…


Comments | More in National, State | Topics: Caucuses, Democratic caucuses, Election 2012

March 27, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Republican delegate convention in Pierce County messy, long, and favored Rick Santorum

Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum (Photos courtesy of,,, and

Note: this is the second of two related posts on the state of the 2012 Republican presidential contest. Part 1 was posted yesterday morning.

TACOMA — The Republican presidential nomination is not over yet, Rick Santorum says. Part of his campaign’s argument is that delegates in caucus states will be allocated to him in greater numbers than the popular votes were on caucus day.

The Pierce County Republican Party convention on Saturday is one place to test Santorum’s view.

The results suggest Santorum might be right.

On March 3, Mitt Romney handily won Washington state’s presidential straw poll at the GOP caucuses, garnering 38% of the statewide caucus vote to 25% for Ron Paul and 24% for Santorum. In Pierce County specifically, Romney won 38% of the vote, Santorum won 26% and Paul received 23%.

That was the popular straw vote on caucus day. In Washington, as in many other caucus states, the official process of appropriating delegates to candidates begins at the precinct caucuses — but is entirely separate from the straw vote — and then moves to the county, and finally to the state level.


Comments | Topics: conservatives, delegates, GOP

March 26, 2012 at 5:45 AM

Party leaders, news media say Republican nomination is over, but Romney still faces landmines

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum bowls in Wisconsin on March 24, 2012. (Photo by Wausau, Wisconsin Daily Herald)

Note: this is the first of two related posts on the state of the 2012 Republican presidential contest. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow morning.

The leaders of the Republican Party and the national news media have decided that Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012.

For example, national news outlets barely waved at Rick Santorum’s big win on Saturday in the Louisiana primary. The New York Times story included this as the second sentence: “The win gave Mr. Santorum a much-needed psychological boost but it will be unlikely to change the dynamics of the race.” And Politico led its coverage with this: “Rick Santorum picked up another win on Saturday in Louisiana, but the victory won’t significantly change the delegate advantage held by Mitt Romney in the GOP nominating contest.”

On Sunday morning, Republican establishment types left no doubt. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN, “I think the primary is over. Romney will be the nominee. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. But she’s warming up.” And former Mississippi governor and GOP insider Haley Barbour said on NBC, “Unless Romney steps on a land mine, it looks like he will be the nominee.”

Romney is certainly the most likely candidate to be the nominee, but I think it’s too early to make the call.

Many news outlets and the GOP leadership are ready to move on to the general election, but the party’s base of evangelical Protestants is not ready to do so. Romney has yet to win a state where the Republican electorate is more than 50% evangelical.

There are at least three serious land mines still out there for Romney.


Comments | Topics: bowling, Caucuses, delegates

March 5, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Fishy Robocalls — 'tis the season

King County voters received phony robocalls, claiming the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled.

King County voters received phony robocalls that claimed the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled. (Photo by tj scenes/

Nowadays, robocalling is standard practice for political campaigns. In a presidential election year, almost everyone can expect an automated phone call here and there. This nomination season, voters in contested states, like South Carolina or Ohio, racked up dozens of robotic voice mails. Sometimes it’s Robo-Robert on the other end of the cord, sometimes it’s Barbara Bush. Usually, it’s just annoying.

Nevertheless, setting up an automated phone bank is usually easier than finding flesh-and-blood volunteers. With companies like Republican Robo Calls — who assure the customer they’ve never worked with a Democrat — charging only two to seven cents per call, million dollar campaigns can hardly afford not use them.

Yet for a system supposedly designed to avoid human error, there’s certainly a lot of it. Whether it’s scandalous content, like accusing John McCain of fathering an illegitimate black child in 2000, or just ringing the wrong households, like Rick Santorum phoning Democrats in Michigan, robocalling can be disastrous for both its users and subjects.

The robocalls that peppered Washington state in anticipation of the Republican caucus had their share of trickery as well.


Comments | Topics: Barbara Bush, campaign oddities, Caucuses

March 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Idaho political landscape: quick facts and a brief electoral history

Spokane County Republican Caucus Results Map

Paul’s percentage in Spokane county was almost cut in half from 46.6% in 2008 to 26.5% on Saturday, which gives Romney reason to smile. (Photo from Google Elections)

SANDPOINT — For the first time in their history, Idaho’s Republicans will hold a presidential caucus on Super Tuesday instead of a primary in May. With Mitt Romney enjoying momentum from his fifth win in a row Saturday in Washington — along with a string of new endorsements — he stands a strong chance of capturing most if not all of Idaho’s 32 delegates.

But with no Idaho polling data to work with this election cycle, what can the 2008 primary tell us about Idaho’s GOP voter landscape?

In Idaho’s 2008 Republican primary, John McCain took home the prize with 70% of the vote to Ron Paul’s 24%. That primary was held on May 28, long after McCain had already secured the party’s nomination. Romney had already dropped out and did not appear on Idaho’s ballots.

Idaho was Paul’s single best state that year. This past Saturday, Paul swept Washington’s counties bordering Idaho, save for Spokane County. It’s worth noting that Paul’s percentage in Spokane county was almost cut in half from 46.6 to 26.5% from four years to this year, which gives Romney reason to smile. That said, a look at Google’s search trends over the past week in Idaho shows a leveling-off of Romney searches, but a steady increase in those for Paul.

What is the breakdown of statewide Republican politics in Idaho?


Comments | Topics: Caucuses, conservatives, Demographics

March 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM

What a difference four years makes: Mitt Romney and Ron Paul's 2008 and 2012 Washington caucus results

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul (Photo by and

Four years later and primary-less, the Washington Republican caucus turnout peaked at just under 51,000 voters yesterday. As a point of comparison, roughly 12,000 turned out for the Republican caucuses in 2008.

With more voters than in recent history, the 2012 caucus set the stage for another interesting comparison: How did Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, who both ran in 2008, fare in 2012?

Overall, both candidates increased from 2008 to 2012: Romney went from 15.5 to 37.6% of the total votes in the state, and Paul increased from 21.6 to 24.8%.

In most of the bigger counties, Romney and Paul both had a 2012 boost at the polls.


Comments | Topics: Caucuses, Kennewick caucus, Mitt Romney

March 4, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Washington GOP shatters previous record with over 50,000 straw votes cast

Behind the podium at the Washington State Republican Party press room on the night of March 3, 2012. The Washington State Republican Party saw over 50,000 straw poll votes cast. (A.V. Crofts/UW Election Eye) Last Thursday I spoke to Washington State Republican Party Chairman, Kirby Wilbur, and he was confident that the turnout for the Washington…


Comments | Topics: delegates, Mitt Romney, WA Caucuses

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