Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Washington State Republican Party Opposes Bill to Eliminate 2012 Presidential Primary

Earlier today FHQ discussed the companion House bill that replicates the Senate bill introduced last week to cancel the 2012 presidential primary in Washington state. Both bills were initiated by Democrats in each chamber on the request of Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire and Republican secretary of state Sam Reed. The state House and Senate are both controlled by the Democratic Party (56D - 42R, House; 27D - 22R, Senate) and both bills were introduced and sponsored by members of the Democratic majority in the House and Senate.

Widespread, bipartisan support, then, may not be necessary.

And it doesn't necessarily look like it will happen. The Washington State Republican Party chair, Luke Esser, spoke against the measure yesterday at the public hearing for the Senate bill (SB 5119).

The Washington State Republican Party (WSRP) has always used the primary results to determine delegate allocations to the Republican National Convention which officially nominates the President. Eliminating the Presidential Primary disenfranchises thousands of individuals who cannot make their local precinct caucuses. Because of this the WSRP stands against eliminating the primary which was instituted via citizen initiative.

WSRP Chairman Luke Esser will be in Olympia testifying against the bill.
As was detailed in an earlier post, Washington Republicans have for several presidential nomination cycles now split the allocation of their convention delegates between both a caucus and a primary while the Democrats have typically used just a caucus with the state-funded primary serving as an advisory beauty contest. The argument from the state Republican Party reflects that difference and may ultimately fall on deaf (and Democratic) ears in committee and on the floor of each chamber should these bills make it that far. In the end, those majorities will make Republican opposition to the bill (if it exists -- The state party doesn't necessarily speak for individual Republican members of the state House or Senate.) moot.

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