Democratic chairman to discuss proposal to scrap presidential primary

March 10, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 3:15 p.m. March 10, 2011

The leader of the state Democratic Party is scheduled to speak in Issaquah next week about a proposal to scrap the Evergreen State’s presidential primary in favor of the caucus system.

Washington State Democrats Chairman Dwight Pelz is due at the March 16 meeting of the 5th District Democrats, the local party organization.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, called for eliminating the 2012 presidential primary in order to save the cash-strapped state about $10 million. Voters mandated the primary in a 1989 ballot initiative, but Democrats and Republicans rely more on party caucuses to allocate delegates.

The local Democrats meet at 7:30 p.m. at the King County Library Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W.

“Dwight Pelz always has something interesting to say,” 5th District Democrats Chairman Jim Baum, a Maple Valley resident, said in a release. “We have polled our members on the primary versus caucus issue. They are overwhelmingly in favor of caucuses.”

The district stretches from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass, and from Sammamish to Maple Valley.

Pelz, a former King County councilman and state senator, is also expected to be available to discuss other issues involving the Democratic Party in Washington. The local group plans to host speakers at other monthly meetings.

“We are trying to keep important political issues in front of our membership by offering members the chance to hear from — and talk with — key political figures,” Baum said.

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