Politics & Government

In final caucus round, Bernie Sanders remains clear winner among Washington Democrats

VIDEO: Selecting delegates at a congressional district caucus

At congressional district caucuses on May 21, 2016, Democrats in Washington state chose most of their delegates who will attend the Democratic National Convention in July. Participants were happy to chat about the process, as well as which candid
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At congressional district caucuses on May 21, 2016, Democrats in Washington state chose most of their delegates who will attend the Democratic National Convention in July. Participants were happy to chat about the process, as well as which candid

The final results are in, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders still won by a landslide in Washington state.

Democrats throughout Washington met Saturday for congressional district caucuses, the last stage in allocating the state’s 101 delegates to presidential candidates at the Democratic National Convention.

Based on the latest caucus results, Sanders will receive 74 delegates, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will receive 27.

The delegate split mirrors the results of earlier Democratic precinct caucuses in Washington, in which Sanders won 73 percent of precinct-level delegates. But it wasn’t until Saturday’s congressional district caucuses that the state Democratic Party determined exactly how many delegates to the national convention each candidate would receive.

101 Washington’s total delegates to the Democratic National Convention

74Delegates that will go to Bernie Sanders

27Delegates that will go to Hillary Clinton

Most of the time at Saturday’s caucuses was taken up with people campaigning to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which will take place July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

Statewide, the caucuses chose 67 people to become delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The remaining 34 people will be chosen in June at the Democratic state convention in Tacoma.

At the 6th Congressional District Caucus in Suquamish, dozens lined up to deliver one-minute speeches explaining why they should be the one to represent their preferred candidate at the convention. Sanders supporters stayed much longer than Clinton fans, as far more people were competing to become Sanders delegates.

Some Sanders supporters said they can’t envision voting for Clinton should she ultimately become the Democratic presidential nominee.

I won’t vote for Trump or Hillary — I don’t see a difference between the two. They’re both blatant liars, and I can’t respect that.

Patrick Belt of Gig Harbor, a supporter of Bernie Sanders

That outcome is looking increasingly likely, given Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates, as well as her backing from unpledged superdelegates who can support any candidate.

Prospective national delegates who declared “Bernie or Bust” during their speeches were greeted with cheers and applause Saturday.

Patrick Belt of Gig Harbor said he would vote for a third-party candidate instead of Clinton, should Sanders lose the nomination to her.

“I won’t vote for Trump or Hillary — I don’t see a difference between the two,” said Belt, 32. “They’re both blatant liars, and I can’t respect that.”

Of more than a dozen Sanders supporters who spoke with a reporter, none said they’d go as far as to vote for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. The real estate mogul has proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, deporting millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally and building a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico.

That makes no sense to me, because if you’re a Bernie supporter and you’re trying to be progressive, you should really be doing what’s best for those communities you’re trying to protect … by not voting for Hillary, you’re really just giving Trump support.

Kathryn Karcher, 17, a Hillary Clinton supporter from Bainbridge Island

Donald Trump voodoo dolls? They're selling fast

Sally Noedel, an artist from Bainbridge Island who specializes in making piñatas, started producing voodoo dolls of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about six months ago. She was out selling them Saturday at the 6th Congressional District Democratic caucus meeting in Suquamish.

Melissa Santos msantos@thenewstribune.com

“His policies are atrocious and hateful, in my opinion,” said Gina Voladora, a 33-year-old mother from Bremerton who is working on earning her master’s degree from Western Governors University. “But I couldn’t in good conscience vote for Hillary either, because she stands for what I am against, and that’s big money in politics.”

Clinton supporter Kathryn Karcher, a 17-year-old who is turning 18 shortly before November’s election, said she doesn’t understand that attitude.

“That makes no sense to me, because if you’re a Bernie supporter and you’re trying to be progressive, you should really be doing what’s best for those communities you’re trying to protect,” said Karcher, of Bainbridge Island. “And by not voting for Hillary you’re really giving just Trump support, which is pretty much throwing the country under the bus.”

Others who back Sanders agreed they’d do whatever it takes to keep Trump out of office, including voting for Clinton.

“I would support Hillary or Bernie over Donald Trump without a moment’s hesitation,” said Sally Noedel, 54, a Sanders supporter from Bainbridge Island. “I just think he’s that dangerous.”

While the state has a presidential primary scheduled for Tuesday, Democrats are not using the primary results to allocate delegates to presidential candidates.

Republicans will use the primary results to allocate delegates, even though Trump is the only Republican candidate left in the race.

Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209, @melissasantos1

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