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Washington considers moving up 2020 presidential primary — but will Democrats use it?

The Democratic caucus lines were long and winding in 2016

Washington leaders are again considering a plan to try to give the state’s presidential primary vote a stronger standing in the nation’s political landscape. And state Democrats might finally use the primary this time around.

The Washington Senate has approved a plan to move the state’s 2020 presidential primary from May to the second Tuesday in March. The House will now take up the bill.

The legislation would permanently move the date of Washington’s presidential primary from the fourth Tuesday in May to the second Tuesday in March and allow the parties to determine which names appear on their respective ballots, a decision currently made by the Secretary of State.

The Washington State Democratic Central Committee, meanwhile, will decide this April on how the party will utilize the vote in 2020.

In 2016 and past presidential elections, Democrats have caucused to dole out the state’s delegates. The last time around, there were incredibly long lines — and a landslide victory for Bernie Sanders — on Capitol Hill.

State Democrats didn’t waste much time setting about trying to improve the plan for 2020. “I think we need to have a serious conversation about the value of a primary of Democratic voters versus the caucus system for allocating delegates to Presidential candidates,”43rd District Democrats chair James Apa told CHS at the time. “Even in the best of scenarios for caucus events, they take time for participants to get through and a huge amount of effort for legislative districts to carry out.”

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7 thoughts on “Washington considers moving up 2020 presidential primary — but will Democrats use it?” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

    • It’s interesting to note that the Republicans in the Senate opposed this bill. Not hard to figure out why. WA tends to go Democratic in Presidential elections. Anything that increases the national impact WA has in selecting a (D) for the national ticket is something (R)s in WA would oppose.

    • Yes, I know that as a fact. As Joel Connelly reported in tiday’s PI:
      “The measure passed on a largely party-line 29-18 vote, with Republican Sens. Phil Fortunato and Hans Zeiger joining Democrats in support.”

      The rest of that statement was obviously my opinion. Feel free to argue about the rest of it to your heart’s content. I won’t be joining you.

  1. The democratic party is simply attempting to avoid the embarrassment the old school insiders (Clinton supporters) suffered when Bernie essentially hijacked the system and won the caucus 73% Sanders vs. 27% clinton. By having the primary before the caucuses (days before the caucus process starts) the old school incumbents are attempting to squash progressive challenges. See also this action at the national level where incumbents only are allowed to use top line consulting firms. The bricks are being placed to wall out progressive challengers.