On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Washington Presidential Caucus: Massive Turnout, Massive Support for Obama

First a little background.

Four years ago we thought we were energized to kick Bush out of the White House. We really weren't. Yes, turnout was up from 2000, and legislative caucuses were crowded, but my precinct turnout was low, with only four people. We clearly could have done more.

Fast-forward to today and there is no comparison!

My precinct caucus site was packed. People were having to stand in line to get in. Precinct tables were too tightly bunched together making it hard for people to move around. The main room was too full so the site coordinator had to do her reading of rules twice.

The Bustle of the Washington Precinct Caucuses

My precinct was lucky to be located in an easy to find, off to the side location. I expected 15 or 20 people this time, but we got 31! That's 27 more people than last time. It was great to see people I talked to last week when my PCO and I walked the precinct to remind people about the caucus.

The first tally went 28 for Obama, 2 for Clinton and 1 uncommitted. With only 4 delegates at stake that meant Obama would get them all.

In order to make it possible for all the precincts to have discussions some were moved outside. That gave is more room, but we still had to move to the end of the foyer we were all in. The first to speak was the uncommitted voter. His argument was we shouldn't take sides yet, feeling our votes would be more valuable at the national convention if we hadn't. We also heard from the two Clinton supporters who made their case for Hillary, feeling her experience in the White House was the most important factor and really feeling that she was the best candidate to take the heat from Republicans and to work with them based on her record in the Senate.

These three voters made up a very small minority in our precinct but we gave them a considerable amount of time to speak. The Obama supporters were made up of the passionate and the pragmatic. More than one person spoke about how they knew Republicans that would actually vote for Obama against McCain. Some supporters said they themselves had been Republicans up until now. People talked about how they felt Obama was the most electable. People spoke about his ability to energize the nation, and how this turnout was a huge example of that.

The end result was that little changed in the voting. The uncommitted voter decided to switch to Clinton, and all the delegates were allocated to Obama. The selection of delegates went without a vote as we had only four people (including myself) who wanted to be delegates and four who wanted to be alternates.

It was an amazing gathering of old and new Democrats. Half of them made contributions of $10 to $20 to help offset the cost of running the precinct caucus. Even though things started a little behind due to the crowds, people stayed until the end, which was by about 2:30pm.

A quick walk around the location yielded other precinct results of 6 to 3 for Obama, 5 to 2 for Obama, 3 to 1 for Obama. Clearly the Obama supporters ruled the day here, and I suspect that will be the case across the state. Now we wait to see if that is in fact true.

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