On Friday, the day before the caucuses here, former Mike McGavick staffer Timothy Goddard gave this as one of the reasons why the Republican base should STFU and just support McCain:
Point two–A McCain loss will embarass the Washington State Republican Party
Particularly when McCain coasts to an easy victory in the primary on the 19th. It will demonstrate that the local party activists and caucus-goers are woefully out of touch with the Washington State Republicans who actually supply the votes. Remember those? They’re important. Now, it may be true that we activists are out of touch, and if it is, we need to figure out how we can rectify that situation. But personally, I’d rather it were not pointed out in such blatant fashion.
Because of the timing of our caucus and primary, and that of recent political events, we’re a party uniquely positioned to embarrass itself. That’s one opportunity I sincerely hope to avoid taking. Our party needs to gain influence over the voters of this state, both friendly and otherwise, and caucusing for Huckabee will diminish it, instead.
I went to a Democratic caucus on Saturday. It was chaotic and even frustrating at times, but one thing that I can’t complain about was whether or not it was democratic (in the small ‘d’ sense). It most certainly was. The initial presidential preferences were tallied, the amount of delegates chosen were based strictly upon the amount of support there was for each candidate. As I slowly heard what had been happening at the Republican caucuses, I noticed that things weren’t happening the same way. I think Timothy Killian is correct in his explanation here:
The rules of the Washington State Republican Party Caucus states that “there is no formal system applied in the Precinct Caucuses to relate the presidential preference of the Caucus participants to the choice of the precinct’s delegates.” In other words, unlike most other caucuses wherein delegates are tied in some formal way to the preferences of caucus attendees, each individual precinct was free to determine their delegate in any manner they chose. (See here).
As a result, a given precincts presidential preferences could break out this way:
But, their delegates, which are unrelated to the above preferences, could break out this way:
Pudge’s post at Sound Politics that Goldy references below seems to confirm this. Unlike the Democratic caucuses where the delegates were apportioned by support, at the Republican caucuses (from the link above):
There is no formal system applied in the Precinct Caucuses to relate the presidential preference of the Caucus participants to the choice of the precinct’s delegates. The participants at each Precinct Caucus alone determine if presidential preference is to be a factor in such choice and, if so, how it is to be applied.
In other words, the mathematical formula that Democrats used to determine delegate apportionment doesn’t seem to exist on the Republican side. If you look at the overall results, it looks like most of the Republican caucuses sent delegates who more-or-less represented the voters of their precinct, but there are definitely more than a few cases where Republican caucusers are claiming that they were “shut out” of the process:
Kim Davis, for example, said she felt like proper procedures weren’t followed at her precinct.
Davis, 47, a Huckabee supporter, said caucus-goers at her table were not given the opportunity to make the case for their candidate nor to vote on who among them would get to be delegates.
“Several McCain supporters just decided for the table and filled out the form,” she said. “I got bamboozled.”
The social conservatives in the Republican Party have long been bamboozled by the corporate bigwigs who actually run it, but it’s interesting to watch the bamboozlement happen at the grass roots level.
I’m definitely arriving at the same conclusion as Killian:
In summation, it may very well be that Huckabee won Washington State. Or maybe McCain won. At this point, we have no way of knowing. What we do know is this: Luke Esser is willfully mispresenting the results of the Washington State Republican Caucuses.
The entire media world has now reported that John McCain was the winner in Washington, but that result is not based on the actual results of the caucus preferences.
I invite the media to more closely scrutinize this.
I second that.
UPDATE: From commenter ‘rhp6033’ in the thread below (and I apologize for sending Christmasghost towards another mental breakdown there…), King5’s Robert Mak is looking into irregularities in the Snohomish County vote:
One Snohomish County caucus chairman told KING 5 that the delegate preferences are “dramatically different” than the attendee counts.
The Snohomish County Republican Party does not have the delegate preferences from many of its caucuses and is working to obtain them.