Otherwise meaningless Washington Caucus will give Santorum momentum

As Presidential candidates and political prognosticators turn their eyes from Arizona and Michigan to Super Tuesday, Washington state looms in the foreground. While none of Washington’s 43 delegates will be awarded as a result of Saturday’s contest, the caucus may serve a powerful role in the battle for momentum.

From 1989 until 2008 a primary election decided Washington’s party nominations. In ’08 the Republican Party decided to award half of its delegates based on a primary election and half through a caucus. This year, however, the Washington GOP will be relying on a caucus vote to inform its delegate selection.

In reality, the Washington caucus this Saturday is a glorified straw-poll. No delegates are directly awarded, but it kicks off the convention process that will culminate in the allocation of delegates at the State convention at the end of May.

The decision to suspend the primary election process this year was fueled by a desire to shrink the state’s $5 billion deficit. In May of last year, the legislature authorized the canceling of the primary election after it was determined that relying on a caucus system would cut $10 million from the state’s bottom line.

Though the Washington caucus serves no real electoral purpose this year, it is still an important engagement in the fight for momentum going into Super Tuesday.

Public Policy Polling’s mid-February survey showed Rick Santorum boasting a commanding 38 percent lead among likely caucus goers and Mitt Romney taking second place with 27 percent. Ron Paul placed third with 15 percent, and Newt Gingrich rounded out the list with 12 percent.  At the point of the survey only 50% of those polled were “strongly committed” to their candidate of choice. The other half indicated that they might end up supporting another candidate.

The frequent change in leaders in this year’s Presidential Primary contest has highlighted the importance of campaign momentum. This week the search for this valuable commodity will give meaning to an otherwise pointless state caucus.

While delegates will not be rewarded as a result of Saturday’s contest, an estimated 50,000 Washington State Republicans will express their preference for President of the United States.

Such a small turnout will leave the gift of momentum in the hands of a small group of party stalwarts, giving each voter the rare opportunity to heavily influence the Super Tuesday electoral street fight.

Comments

Polititainment

'SNL' laughs at North Korea, Sony hacks
“Saturday Night Live” hit on North Korea and the Sony hacks twice this weekend, proving that unlike most of Hollywood, they aren’t scared of Kim Jong-un. The show started off with a bang, bringing back Mike Myers as Dr. Evil to interrupt the cold open and discuss his anger over the North Korea and Sony hacker […]
RNC asks theaters to show 'The Interview
The Sony hack and subsequent cancellation of “The Interview” has gone fully political. President Obama made an official statement on this decision and now the Republican National Committee is weighing in. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus asks that movie theaters not bow down to North Korea and stand up to this decision by screening the film […]
Obama: LeBron 'did the right thing'

President Obama supports LeBron James' decision to wear an "I can't breathe" t-shirt during warmup before the NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets last week.

Al Sharpton, Hollywood's Sony Liaison

In a private meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Greenwich Hotel in New York City Thursday, Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal told Sharpton that he could have a voice in how the movie studio makes its films.

Clooney: Release 'The Interview' online

George Clooney may have the most awesomely toothy response to the Sony Pictures cyberattack that forced the movie studio to pull the film "The Interview" from its December 25 release.

White House

Obama: I will do ‘everything I can’ to close Guantanamo Bay
President Obama may have signed the defense bill that keeps Guantanamo Bay open for another year, but he is still verbally promising to close down the facility. Obama appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and discussed closing Gitmo by the end of next year with host Candy Crowley. “I’m going to do everything […]
Obama: ‘We’re not going to be intimidated’ by Sony hackers
President Obama appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning and covered a variety of topics ranging from racism to North Korea and the Sony hacks. Obama repeated his earlier statements about the hacks, implying again that Sony made the wrong call by canceling screenings of “The Interview.” “The Boston Marathon suffered an actual […]
Obama: we can’t have censorship subject to ‘some dictator someplace’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government.

U.S. confirms North Korea was behind Sony attack and promises ‘proportional’ response

Officials no longer merely suspect North Korea to be behind the cyberattack on Sony Picture—they’ve confirmed it.

District court declares Obama’s executive action on immigration unconstitutional
A federal court in Pennsylvania declared parts of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration unconstitutional Tuesday. Judge Arthur J. Schwab, sitting in the western district of Pennsylvania, said presidents do have the power to use discretion in deciding how to enforce laws, but found that Obama’s recent executive action went much further than that.  He said Obama was writing […]

Congress

Rubio, Paul feud continued on ABC's 'This Week'
Likely 2016 presidential hopefuls Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have been going after each other all week for statements made on President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba and the feud did not take a break over the weekend. The Florida senator, one of the most outspoken critics of the new Cuba policy, appeared on […]
Rubio says Rand Paul is clueless on Cuba

Sen. Marco Rubio made his criticism of a fellow Republican plain Thursday night.

Gowdy's office responds to Speaker chatter

Rep. Trey Gowdy has become a sensation on the Right, with his no-nonsense style and committee hearing takedowns of Obama officials garnering him praise and attention.

Rand Paul: 'Opening up Cuba is a good idea'

Sen. Rand Paul broke with the Republican Party's prevailing argument against President Obama's Cuba policy Thursday, saying the move toward opening trade with the long-embargoed nation "probably" is a good idea.

Retiring DemHenry Waxman's farewell ode to govt

You'd think that, 40 years in, a congressman might grow cynical about the prospects of government meddling. Not retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)!