Of all the volunteers who helped make this afternoon’s Democratic precinct caucuses happen around West Seattle and beyond, they might have had the best job – hanging out in the sunshine to help people find their way into the Chief Sealth International High School Galleria. Inside, it was a little lonely – one woman asked the check-in-table volunteers, “Am I the only one?” She wasn’t the only one there – we counted more than 30 before the caucusing officially began at 1:30 pm – but she might have been the only one from her precinct. Each precinct had a table, and some tables were empty. But that made it a convivial gathering – Chris Porter rallied everyone around as he read the introduction and rules:
As is usual for caucuses, this was the first step in a process that could lead a determined delegate all the way to the Democratic National Convention in September in Charlottesville. Unlike 2008, when the caucuses were packed because the party hadn’t settled on its nominee yet – today was more about trying to rally the party to look ahead to November, including a pitch for support, monetary and volunteer. “What a difference four years makes,” someone observed, looking around. The bright side of low turnout: High odds of getting elected as a delegate; Porter extolled the virtues of moving on to higher-level caucuses and making an impact on the party platform.
Things were buzzing at our second stop, West Seattle High School:
Most balloon-festooned tables had lively conversations going on – the official business part of the caucus was scheduled to “start no sooner than 1:30, and end no sooner than 2:00,” per the rules. 34th District Democrats chair Tim Nuse was circulating; former State House candidate Mike Heavey told us he had counted about 100 people on hand, and our informal count tended to agree. And while at Sealth, we’d seen just one candidate sign – for President Obama – as well as an advocacy table (for marriage equality), WSHS had campaign signs galore, not just Obama/Biden, but also for governor candidate Jay Inslee and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. WSHS also is where West Seattle Republicans caucused on a gray day six weeks ago (WSB coverage here), with a packed house, but that was their sole spot for the entire peninsula (today the D’s also caucused at Madison Middle School, West Seattle Elementary, and Highland Park Elementary). Next step for the Dems: The district caucuses on April 28th.