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

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May 2, 2008 4:41 PM

Grassroots Dems balk at party orders

Posted by David Postman

At PolitickerWA, Bryan Bissell reports on Democrats unhappy with their state party’s decision to nominate candidates for this summer’s top-two primary. Bissell says the 36th and 10th district Democrats have balked at Chairman Dwight Pelz’ order to have precinct committee officers endorse candidates in contested Democratic primaries.

The 36th District Executive board met last Thursday and decided that the use of a handful of PCOs, some of whom were appointed, was too undemocratic a way to choose a party nominee when there were so many thousands of people interested in the political process this cycle.

After this decision was made, District Chair Peter House both mailed Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz a letter and sent him an e-mail notifying him of their decision not to nominate either of their candidates for State Representative, John Burbank or Reuven Carlyle.

Pelz then told the 36th LD almost immediately that if they do not change their mind and use the PCOs to choose a nominee, then John Burbank would be the one. Pelz affirmed that, in the absence of a choice by the LDs, the state party is in charge of the decision.

Carlyle used his campaign blog to respond to Pelz’ move:

It's all insider baseball, sausage-making process of politics that won't impact the race much....but it does have the real possibility of sending ugly signals to the 63,000 Democrats of our district...including the 18,000 who came to our presidential caucuses.

Meanwhile, up north in Island County, the 10th District Democrats say they’re not ready to endorse a candidate in a contested legislative primary. Writes Bissell:

"Our decision was to postpone until after the state convention," said 10th LD Chair Alec McDougal. "There are some who would like to have the race over with, but others felt a nomination made with PCOs casting weighted votes would quite possibly be seen as the least democratic of nominating processes."

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