Evergreen High School; outside signage/Stapilus
Count the outside signage for presidential candidates Saturday, around Clark County general and especially around the caucus centers, and you'd figure Ron Paul was the overwhelming selection. Even near the Republican caucus areas: At Evergreen High School, where a half-dozen precincts were caucusing, Paul had a table staffed by five or six enthusiastic volunteers, more than ready to pass out literature and tout their candidate.
Of which was a little misleading, of course. Paul was spending Saturday explaining how he was planning to run for re-election for the U.S. House as a Republican, even while somehow remaining active as a presidential candidate. Turnout in the Republican caucus was relatively small, maybe a third (to our observation) in the Democratic, though there were good reasons for that - a nearly decided GOP presidential contest, and the fact that Republicans in Washington get a second apple bite, a meaningful vote in the upcoming primary election. For Democrats, where the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton contest is still quite live, the rules are different: The primary ballots mean nothing; the decision came out of this afternoon's caucuses.
In Clark County, a bunch of locations (mainly schools) houses caucus gatherings, where a half dozen or so precincts each were gathered to vote and select delegates to the county convention, which in turn would select delegates to the state convention, which - that's right - will select delegates to the national. Which makes this extremely preliminary except for this: The number of national delegates Obama and Clinton get from Washington will be extrapolated directly from these precinct caucuses, which made them significant indeed.
The overall picture is that Obama won all three states up for balloting today - Washington, Nebraska and Louisiana. None of these were a surprise, but Washington was assumed to be the most competitive of the three. After all, Hillary Clinton had the long-time support of much of the core Washington Democratic establishment, endorsements from most of the major Democratic political figures in the states (key recent exception being Governor Chris Gregoire). Louisiana turned out to be the closest, and Washington is a blowout - with nearly all precincts reporting as this is written, the percentage is 67.5% Obama to 31.2% Clinton. (Obama took every county in the state but one, Douglas east of the Cascades, and the results weren't even close in more than two or three others.)
After watching and listening for a while at Evergreen, some of the pieces underlying that seem clear. (more…)