Many of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed state budget cuts will inflict real pain and hardship on Washington citizens, including its most vulnerable – low-income children and the elderly.
But the recommendation to save $10 million by suspending the state’s presidential primary in 2012 isn’t one that will hurt very much, if at all.
The primary is largely ceremonial in nature, with state Democrats ignoring its results and using lightly attended caucus meetings to pick their delegates to the national nominating convention. State Republicans use the results to select half of their delegates.
This state’s primary hasn’t always been successful in drawing the candidates here on the campaign trail. For instance, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fiercely battled for the 2008 Democratic nomination, both visited Washington during the campaign.
And it’s not as if this would be the first time the primary was suspended to save money; it happened previously in 2004 when the estimated cost was $6 million.
The value of the primary lies mainly in engaging citizens in the political process in a more democratic way than the caucuses, which are dominated by the party faithful.
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