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Postman on Politics

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

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February 19, 2008 8:27 PM

McCain supporters find something to cheer about

Posted by David Postman

The always hard-working reporter Haley Edwards is at a party for John McCain at the Sport Restaurant Bar near the Space Needle. One sign of an emerging McCain campaign in the state is the news Edwards has that King County Republican chairman Michael Young quit that post today to become the Western Washington campaign coordinator for McCain.

"The senator is looking strong. He has a lot of support here," Young said. "We're just watching the numbers and feeling good."

"The numbers are encouraging," said Chris Fidler, state campaign coordinator for McCain."I got here and was putting the balloons up and I thought, 'It's already in the bag.'"

Max Torres, who describes himself as a Democrat, said, "You know, I'm out here to support him. I may not agree with everything he does or everything he votes for, but I agree with his integrity and I think he's going to do well in Washington and Oregon for that reason."

Glenn Avery, a veteran and a Seattle consultant, said, "I'm hoping to retire one day, and I'd like to avoid higher taxes. McCain's the only one I know who won't raise them."

Josh Bill, 24, of Auburn, is a student at the University of Washington in political science:

Even though it's a sure win for him, I still think it's important to come out and join the crowd. It's primary day. Isn't that exciting? We got to come out and show our support. Plus everyone else my age is an Obama supporter.

McCain is holding a strong lead in the Republican primary. Mike Huckabee is a distant second, with former candidate Mitt Romney not far behind in third place. That tells you as much as anything how different the electorate is today compared to the turnout for the party caucus on Feb. 9.

MORE: When a cable news channel announced McCain as the winner of the Washington winner, a cheer went up and someone yelled:

And they say there is no emotion in the Republican party.

Who me?

Before there is too much cheering, though, the McCain supporters should look at the strong showing by Romney. Nearly 59,000 Republicans cast protest votes for Romney so far, about the same number that voted for Huckabee. Unlike any argument that could be made for a Huckabee or even a Ron Paul vote, it is impossible to read the Romney votes as anything other than a protest against a McCain candidacy.

The good news for McCain comes from throughout the state. He is leading in every county that has posted results so far tonight.

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