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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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February 9, 2008 1:49 PM

Caucuses get underway with big crowds on both sides

Posted by David Postman

At a Democratic caucus at Foster High School in Tukwila, there are more than 300 people in attendance. The caucus began just a few minutes ago, about 40 minutes after the scheduled start to allow people to get through the lines to sign in.

The caucus began with an unofficial voice vote, according to reporter Stuart Eskenazi:

“They asked how many people are here for Hillary, and it was met with cheers. And then they said, ‘How many are here for Barack Obama,’ and it was a huge roar. It is heavily Obama here in Tukwila.”

This is from a caucus-goer who filed a report to the Seattle Times. The Madison Park Democratic caucus for Precinct 2058 "appears primarily Clinton, as am I. Discussions beginning soon."

Some Republican caucuses are overflowing, too. Reporter Jim Brunner says the GOP caucus in Lynwood was over capacity even before it began.

The indoor basketball court at Silver Creek Community Church was packed, and a crowd of at least 400 was spilling into adjoining rooms.

Among the crowd was initiative guru Tim Eyman, who was promoting a new measure for the fall ballot aimed at traffic congestion. Eyman, who has been a delegate in previous years, said he would support whomever was picked as the GOP nominee.

Longtime Republicans said the turn out was unusually large, despite John McCain being the presumptive nominee. “This is where the party faithful have a chance to say their piece,” said Stan Lake, chairman of the 21st Legislative District Republicans.

Reporter Ashley Bach is at a Bellevue elementary school, sand says it is a low-key and mostly older crowd of about 120 Republicans.

One of the few overt signs of support at the Stevenson Elementary School caucus came from Michael Loughry, a 24 year-old software engineer wearing a Ron Paul T-shirt. He said he was not going to be swayed to John McCain’s camp.

“He’s become such a neo-con, saying we should be in Iraq for another 100 years, which is absurd,” said Loughry.

In Everett, Democrats heard from Sen. Maria Cantwell, who told them:

"My mom had emergency appendectomy surgery two days, and left the hospital today at noon to go to the caucus."

The rest of her remarks were drowned out by cheers.

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