LIVE from Renton: The June 2016 King County Democratic Endorsements Meeting

Good evening from Renton. Tonight, the King County Democrats are meeting to consider taking endorsement action in a number of contests, most of which will be decided by voters this August and September. This post will offer a running chronology of the meeting proceedings, including endorsement votes.

Note that the threshold for endorsement of the King County Democrats is a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.

  • 7:20 PM: We started at 7:15 PM and proceeded through the Pledge of Allegiance, adoption of the meeting agenda, adoption of meeting minutes, and adoption of endorsement ground rules.
  • 7:25 PM: We are currently working on the slate. Executive board members have the opportunity to pull races from the slate, but there must be at least four seconds to pull a race for individual consideration. Races that have been pulled: Governor, Seattle Proposition #1, and Seattle Initiative 123.
  • 7:30 PM: We are now voting on the slate.
  • 7:34 PM: We have adopted the slate by a vote of forty-four to two. The following candidates have now been endorsed by the King County Democrats:
    • Luis Moscoso, State Senate, 1st Legislative District
    • Derek Stanford, State House, Position 1, 1st Legislative District
    • Shelley Kloba, State House, Position 2, 1st Legislative District
    • Kristine Reeves, State House, Position 2, 30th Legislative District
    • Noel Frame, State House, Position 1, 36th Legislative District
    • Lisa Wellman, State Senate, 41st Legislative District
    • Tana Senn, State House, Position 1, 41st Legislative District
    • Judy Clibborn, State House, Position 2, 41st Legislative District
    • Nicole Macri, State House, Position 1, 43rd Legislative District
    • Helen Halpert, Position #31, King County Superior Court
    • Mariane Spearman, Position #53, King County Superior Court
    • Initiative 1433 (statewide): YES/please sign
    • King County Fire Protection District #2, Proposition #1: YES
    • King County Fire Protection District #43, Proposition #1: YES
    • King County Hospital District #2, Proposition #1: YES
  • 7:37 PM: A motion was made from the floor to endorse U.S. Senator Patty Murray for reelection. By a vote of forty-one to two, she is endorsed.
  • 7:44 PM: A motion was made from the floor to endorse Tony Ventrella for U.S. House, 8th District. The motion failed by a vote of two to thirty-six.
  • 7:48 PM: A motion was made from the floor to endorse Bob Ferguson for Attorney General. By a vote of thirty-nine to three, he is endorsed.
  • 7:44 PM: A motion was made from the floor to endorse Mary Verner for Commissioner of Public Lands. The motion was not taken up due to a lack of seconds.
  • 7:54 PM: A motion was made from the floor to endorse Karen Porterfield for Commissioner of Public Lands. The motion failed by a vote of six to twenty-nine.
  • 8:15 PM: We just heard a great speech from Governor Inslee, followed by Q&A. In the wake of the speech and Q&A, Governor Inslee was unanimously endorsed by a vote of forty-four to zero.
  • 8:20 PM: We next took up the Endorsements Committee’s recommendation to take a position supporting Seattle Proposition #1, this year’s housing levy. This passed by a vote of thirty-eight to zero.
  • 8:25 PM: We took up the Endorsement Committee’s recommendation to take a position opposing Initiative 123, which concerns an alternative plan for the Seattle waterfront. This failed by a vote of twenty-five to fifteen.
  • 8:32 PM: We considered a motion from the floor to take a position supporting Initiative 123. This failed by a vote of eighteen to twenty-three. We thus do not have a position on Initiative 123.

After the second vote on Initiative 123, we concluded our endorsements business for this evening. Further endorsements will be considered at our July meeting.

Join the King County Democrats at the 2016 Washington State Democratic Convention

Thank you to everyone who joined us on May 1st for the King County Democratic Convention! The caucus and convention cycle wraps up in June with the Washington State Democratic Convention.

Delegates, Alternates and other interested Democrats should mark the following dates on their calendars:

  1. Washington State Democratic Convention: June 17th – 19th (all day) in Tacoma.
    • Opening ceremonies like the banquet dinner will take place on Friday, June 17th
    • The Convention itself will take place on Saturday, June 18th, starting at 9 AM
    • Selection of at-large and PLEO delegates to the Democratic National Convention will take place on Sunday, June 19th
  2. Democratic National Convention: July 25th – 28th, in Philadelphia.

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LIVE from Renton: The May 2016 King County Democrats Endorsement Meeting

Good evening from Renton. Tonight, the King County Democrats are meeting to consider taking endorsement action in a number of contests, most of which will be decided by voters this August and September. This post will offer a running chronology of the meeting proceedings, including endorsement votes.

Note that the threshold for endorsement of the King County Democrats is a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.

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Primer on Washington’s 2016 Presidential Primary

This month, Washington State is holding a presidential primary. If you are registered to vote in King County or elsewhere in our great state, you should have received a ballot in the mail sometime between May 4th and May 7th. The following FAQ explains what this is all about and what you should do with your ballot.

Why is Washington holding a presidential primary?

Sample presidential primary ballot

In King County, the 2016 presidential primary ballot looks like this.

Washington is holding a presidential primary because state law requires it. In 1989, the Legislature approved Initiative 99, which stipulates that a presidential primary shall be held every four years on the fourth Tuesday in May.

Sometimes the Legislature cancels this election (as it did in 2012 and 2004), but in years like 2016, where there is no incumbent seeking reelection to the presidency, it has typically been held. Last year, the Legislature provided the funding needed to hold the election ($11.5 million), and so it is being held in accordance with the law.

Please note that the presidential primary is a unique and completely different election than the Top Two election we hold annually in August to narrow down the list of candidates who will appear on the general election ballot. Confusingly, state law and county elections officials call that election a primary, but it’s actually a qualifying election in which the top two vote getters advance regardless of party. In a true primary, people vote a party ballot and participate in the choosing of that party’s nominees. We have not held a true primary to choose nominees for state and local offices since 2007.

Wait a minute. I thought the Washington State Democratic Party had decided to use caucuses to allocate delegates to the Democratic National Convention…

That’s correct — we did! It is up to the Democratic and Republican parties to decide what to do with the results of the presidential primary. The parties may utilize the results for the purpose of determining how many national convention delegates each candidate should receive, but they don’t have to. A political party can nominate its candidates however it wishes. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees to us the right to freely assemble. How we go about choosing our party’s nominee for president is up to us to decide.

The Democratic Party requires that each state party come up with a Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan and submit that plan to the Democratic National Committee for its approval. Some state parties — like New York, California, and Oregon — use the results of a primary to determine how many delegates the Democratic presidential candidates should get from their state. Other states — like Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, or Washington — use caucuses instead.

The Democratic Party of Washington State has historically always used a caucus and convention system to allocate its national delegates, and your Washington State Democratic Central Committee (WSDCC) decided last year to use that method again in 2016. We held our precinct caucuses on March 26th, legislative district caucuses on April 17th, and county conventions/legislative district subcaucuses on May 1st. Congressional district caucuses are up next, on May 21st. That’s where we’ll elect our first group of national convention delegates.

You can read our state party’s Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan here.

What are the Republicans doing?

The Washington State Republican Party previously decided to use the results of the presidential primary to allocate all of its forty-four national convention delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. However, the Republican contest is effectively over now that Ted Cruz and John Kasich have withdrawn. No matter what the outcome of the Republican primary is here in Washington, Donald Trump will remain the presumptive nominee.

Since the Democratic Party won’t be making use of the presidential primary results to allocate delegates, should I even bother to return my ballot?

Yes, you should. We strongly encourage you to mark your ballot for Hillary or Bernie and return it before May 24th. Even though this election is just a straw poll, it’s critical that we all participate. Let’s show our fellow Washingtonians and the mass media that we want a Democrat to succeed President Obama as our nation’s Commander-in-Chief… not Donald Trump.

Remember that for your vote to count, you can only vote for one candidate on one of the two party ballots. If you vote for Bernie or Hillary, you must check the box on the return envelope attesting that you are a Democratic voter and that you will not participate in any other party’s nominating process this year. Failure to do this will cause your ballot to be invalidated.

Caucus and convention information for 2016


Each even-numbered year, the Democratic Party holds caucuses and conventions to elect delegates and hear from candidates, as well as adopt resolutions and agree on a platform at the county and state levels.

All Washingtonians who identify as Democrats are encouraged to attend these events. There will be five events in this year’s caucus and convention cycle:

  1. the precinct caucuses on Saturday, March 26th, at 10 AM;
  2. the legislative district caucuses on Sunday, April 17th at 1 PM;
  3. the King County Democratic Convention at Hazen High on Sunday, May 1st, at 1 PM;
  4. the congressional district caucuses on Saturday, May 21st (10 AM anticipated start time);
  5. the Washington State Democratic Convention from June 17th – 19th (all day) in Tacoma.
    1. Opening ceremonies like the banquet dinner will take place on Friday, June 17th
    2. The Convention itself will take place on Saturday, June 18th, starting at 9 AM
    3. Selection of delegates to the Democratic National Convention will take place on Sunday, June 19th

These events will be followed by the Democratic National Convention from July 25th – 28th, 2016, in Philadelphia.

What were the results of the March 26th presidential precinct caucuses?

The Washington State Democratic Party has a page that shows the results of the March 26th presidential precinct caucuses.

What is a caucus? What happens at a caucus?

Very simply, a caucus is a meeting of Democratic voters and activists. It’s a chance to meet your Democratic neighbors and discuss who would be the best candidate to succeed President Obama as our country’s next leader. Participants elect delegates to the next level of caucuses for their presidential candidate of choice (e.g. Hillary or Bernie). Any Washingtonian who will be eighteen by November 8th, 2016, who considers themselves to be a Democrat, and is willing to publicly identify as a Democrat may participate in the caucuses.

I haven’t turned eighteen yet. Can I participate in the caucuses and conventions?

If you will turn eighteen by Election Day, November 8th, 2016, then yes, you may participate. Note that you can only vote at the upcoming congressional district caucuses and state convention if you were elected as a delegate or alternate to go to those events. You can run for delegate to the National Convention, but you must submit your declaration of candidacy by May 6th (to run at the congressional level) or June 10th (to run for a statewide at-large position). You may register to vote exactly as if you were already eighteen and King County Elections will simply hold your registration for activation on your birthday.

I am not a United States citizen. Can I participate in the caucuses and conventions?

You may attend as an observer/guest, but you may not vote unless you are a U.S. citizen and resident of Washington who is of age (or will be by November 8th).