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

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February 9, 2008 2:01 PM

New Neighbors Meet at Ballard Caucus

Posted by David Postman

This is from Philip Pirwitz, a UW student writing for us and Seattle Politicore:

Today’s caucus out here in Magnolia may have started a little shaky, but all of the doors are unlocked and our team has staked its territory in the Catherine Blaine School’s lunchroom where the bulk of the action will take place. A recording over the intercom instructs the crowd how to sign in and directs them to their correct destination.

Almost all of the tables are full in the lunchroom, with standing voters filling the perimeter, and still the line outside stretches to the nearby community center. Each table serves as a precinct meeting location with numbered balloons serving as beacons. On each table is a donation box for the Democratic Party.

Neighbors have begun to introduce themselves and discuss the issues, many of whom were strangers before today’s event and new to the caucus process.

“This is my first time,” said Clay Smith from precinct 1684, whose table had just finished a debate on the Iraq war. “None of us had met before.”

When asked over the speaker who is at their first caucus, three-quarters of the crowd raised their hand.

Smith, along with Valerie Schloredt, has come to express their preference for Barack Obama and his potential to bring the country - and a split Congress - together. Others at the table said they liked Hillary Clinton, and a friendly debate fittingly ensued about her divisive nature.

Schloredt came with her husband Brendan Manley from London. Though Manley is still a citizen of England and cannot vote in the caucus, he came to experience the excitement with his wife in her hometown.

“This is my junior high lunchroom,” Schloredt said. They both waited - unsuccessfully - for Obama outside the Key Arena yesterday.

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