Before Tuesday’s coast to coast Republican primaries and caucuses in ten states across the nation, Washington state is holding its caucuses tonight. Forty delegates will later be awarded to the winner at a statewide convention in May.
In a press release from the Washington State Secretary’s office, it is predicted that 60,000 Washington registered voters will take part in caucuses at an estimated 6,700 precincts across the state. The Democratic caucuses in which President Obama is unchallenged, will be held April 15.
Fresh off wins in the Arizona and Michigan primaries Tuesday, as well as the unofficial Wyoming Republican caucuses; a recent PPP opinion poll of state Republicans shows Romney with a five point lead over former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who had an eleven point lead in a poll in mid February. Fellow candidates former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Congressman Ron Paul trail behind them.
Though all the candidates have in the past week visited Washington, only Congressman Paul and Governor Romney are in the state tonight . According to his campaign website, Santorum spent the day holding campaign events in Lima, Bowling Green, and Cincinnati ahead of Ohio’s primaries Tuesday, while Gingrich also rallied supporters in the ‘buck eye’ state making appearances in Findley and Hamilton.
I will be live blogging the caucuses tonight, interjecting some facts and trivia about the race and Washington state; while waiting to hear about any news as it develops.
12:00 AM/ET- On ‘Super Tuesday’ ten states across the nation in caucuses in Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota, as well as in primaries in: Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Vermont; where a total of 437 delegates will be up for grabs.
11:47PM/ET- The Romney campaign released this statement following the announcement of the Washington state caucus results tonight:
“I’m heartened to have won the Washington caucuses, and I thank the voters for their support. Every day that passes with Barack Obama in the White House is a day in which America’s recovery from the economic crisis is delayed. Unemployment here in Washington was recently as high as 10.2 percent. It’s wonderful that it has declined to 8.3 percent. But that is still an unacceptable level, bringing hardship and suffering and sleepless nights to too many American homes. I believe in an America in which everyone seeking work can find it.
“I’m in this race because I believe that America can be turned around, that we don’t have to accept unemployment over 8 percent as a new normal. I don’t believe we have to accept a national debt that is as large as our entire economy. I don’t believe we have to accept taxes and regulations that cripple economic growth. We don’t have to accept a national health care scheme that will impose the will of Washington bureaucrats on every American healthy or ill. And we don’t have to accept a President who divides our country even as he misgoverns it.
“Once again, I congratulate my fellow Republicans on a campaign well waged. We may differ from one another in background and experience. But we are united in our love of this country, and in our belief that with proper leadership America can do much better. The voters of Washington have sent a signal that they do not want a Washington insider in the White House. They want a conservative businessman who understands the private sector and knows how to get the federal government out of the way so that the economy can once again grow vigorously. With the support of Washington’s voters, I look forward with optimism to the primaries and caucuses to come.”
11:30PM/ET- Candidates were also allowed to be able to run to be delegates at county conventions where state convention delegates will be picked. The Republicans will then hold a state convention in Tacoma, Washington May 30- June 2 when forty national delegates will be elected. In other words nobody officially will see an increase in their delegate count tonight.
11:23PM/ET- As reported earlier the Washington state caucuses Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had been called the winner hours ago. Fox News now says with 87 percent of precincts reporting that Romney wins with 36 percent (15,709 votes), Paul 25 percent (10,919 votes), Santorum 25 percent (10,730 votes), and Gingrich with 11% (4,738 votes).
9:04PM/ET- Looks like coverage is largely over though Fox News will have some 10-11PM.
9:00PM/ET- Fox News projects Romney wins caucus with 51% of vote in. Romney 37 percent, Paul and Santorum 24 percent each, and Gingrich with 11 percent.
8:59PM/ET- In the past week, Romney has wrapped up wins now in two primaries and two caucuses.
8:53PM/ET-Census 2010: Racial composition of Washington population: ‘White persons’ 77.3 percent, ‘Black Persons’ 3.6 percent, American Indian/ Native Alaskan 1.5 percent, ‘Asian persons’ 7.2 percent, Native Hawains and other Pacific Islanders 0.6 percent, Persons reporting to be of two or more races 4.7%, ‘Hispanic or Latino persons’ 11.2 percent, and ‘Non-Hispanic Whites’ 72.5 percent.
8:52PM/ET- Romney out spending Rick Santorum four to one in Ohio according to CNN contributor Gloria Borger.
8:49PM/ET- CNN officially projects that Mitt Romney will win the Washington state caucuses, with less than 50 percent in so far. Romney has received 7,907 votes, Paul 5,117, Santorum 5,072, and Gingrich 2,420. Just 42 percent of vote in.
8:43PM/ET- Romney has gained the endorsements of three of the four Republican House members from Washington. Rep. Jamie Herenna Butler, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Dave Reichert endorsed him, Rep. Doc Hastings has not endorsed a candidate.
8:40PM/ET-Census: As of 2010 50.2 percent of Washington residents are female, 49.8 percent male.
8:38PM/ET- Pierce County and King counties results show Romney with big lead. GOP state chairman said 21,000 people have participated.
8:35PM/ET- Trivia: In 1846, the British ceded the Washington territory to the United States as part of the ‘Oregon Treaty’.
8:34PM/ET- With 42 percent of the vote in: Romney 37%, Santorum 24%, Paul 24%, and Gingrich 11%.
8:33PM/ET- Santorum speaking in Bowling Green Ohio, speaking angrily about ‘Obama care’ and speaking about religion in the public sphere.
8:29PM/ET- Famous Washington state natives include: Conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck, Actor and singer Bing Crosby, ‘Nirvana’ singer Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix,and actor(s) Adam West, and Craig.T.Nelson.
8:31PM/ET-Census: As of 2010 6.5 percent of the population is five years of age and younger, 23.5 percent are age 18 or younger, and 12.3 percent age 65 and older.
8:27PM/ET-Census: Washington state population as of 2010 stands at 6,724,540.
8:25PM/ET: CNN’s Jim Acosta says Romney will depart from Washington tommorow to campaign in Georgia and Tennessee ahead of Tuesday primaries.
8:22PM/ET- Trivia: At $9.40 an hour, Washington has the highest minimum wage of any state in the country.
8:21PM/ET- CNN says Paul was hoping for first win in Washington caucuses tonight.
8:20PM/ET- Trivia: Washington is known as the ‘ Evergreen State’.
8:20PM/ET- Waiting for Seattle results and number of other results.
8:07PM/ET- Coverage of Washington Caucuses pretty light. According to TV Newser, CNN is providing an hour of coverage between 8 and 9PM/ET with Wolf Blitzer and commentators Ari Fleicher, Hillary Rosen, and Gloria Borger. FOX News will have coverage between 10PM and 11PM anchored by Brett Baer and commentators Bob Beckel, Charles Kraunthamer, A.B Stoddard,Steve Hayes, Kirsten Powers, and Ed Rollins. MSNBC will be airing cut-ins between its Saturday night documentaries.
8:06PM/ET- CNN says Wilbur predicts 100 percent of results will come in about an hour from now.
8:03PM/ET- With a total of 17,100 votes already cast according to Washington GOP chair Kirby Wilbur; the first results are trickling in. Early results show Romney ahead with 36 percent, Santorum and Paul tied with 24 percent each, and Gingrich trailing with 12 percent. Three percent undecided.