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March 15, 2007

Fighting to save the presidential primary

Posted by David Postman at 10:12 AM

This afternoon the House Appropriations Committee will hear from grassroots Democrats and a statewide elected Republican hoping to save next year's presidential primary. The committee will hold a hearing at 3:30 on House Bill 2379, which would cancel the state's 2008 presidential primary.

Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, introduced the bill to save the money that would be spent on a primary that many say has little meaning to the nominating process. State Democrats have not counted primary votes toward selection of delegates. Republicans have used the results to apportion at least some of their delegates. I wrote about the bill here last week.

But some Democratic activists want to turn their state party around. Today Kelly Wright will present lawmakers with a resolution passed by the 38th District Democrats on March 6 in support of the primary.

The resolution say the primary would "be the most democratic and inclusive means for Washington State Democrats to elect Democratic National Convention Delegates." It would also "be the most useful way possible to identify Democrats and mobilize them to support the party and its candidates."

Wright's prepared testimony says that other Democratic organizations are lobbying the central committee to support the primary. The central committee will make that decision at its meeting April 28. Wright's testimony says the bill to kill the primary "is a direct assault on democracy." He said:

We are a Democratic party. We have a democratic process.

This legislation would effectively end our campaign — before the public has had a chance to comment. Before we have had a chance to vote.

The Washington State Legislature can not blame the state's major political Parties for the cancellation of the state's Presidential Primary.

If this bill passes millions of Washington's voters will be denied the opportunity to vote on February 5th , when most of the rest of the nation votes in a presidential primary.

The responsibly for this travesty will rest with solely with the legislature.

Secretary of State Sam Reed will also be there to oppose the bill. He'll be joined by leaders of several organizations from around the state. Reed will give committee members a handout of newspaper columns and editorials in favor of keeping the primary.

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