Governor Christine Gregoire in a signing session this afternoon signed SB 5119 into law, canceling the 2012 Washington presidential primary. [It was the first to be signed of twenty-nine bills on the agenda.] Washington voters have had the presidential primary option since 1992, but neither state party has ever completely adopted it as the preferred method of allocating national convention delegates. In 2008, for example, Democrats, traditionally averse to primaries, allocated all of their delegates based on the results of the party's caucuses while the primary election ten days later was only advisory. Washington Republicans, meanwhile, allocated 51% of their delegates based on the primary results and the remaining 49% from the caucuses. The fact, then, that the state government was open to the idea of temporarily suspending the presidential primary for the 2012 cycle -- as a means of saving $10 million in elections costs -- is understandable, though, not universally accepted.
Washington, though, becomes the first state of the 2012 cycle to cancel its presidential primary. Democrats in the state have already chosen a Sunday, April 15 date for its caucuses and the focus now turns to the Republican Party in the Evergreen state to select a date for its delegate selection event.