A good year for a caucus | Editorial

Washington residents usually sit back and watch while presidential candidates are picked because the process is pretty much over by the time our political caucuses are held. No so this year, and that should make the Island County Republican precinct caucuses the place to be for conservative-leaning islanders on Saturday, March 3.

The caucuses, to be held at 10 a.m. that day at both Oak Harbor High School and South Whidbey High School, are complicated affairs as ideas are discussed and delegates are picked for the county convention later that month. But the fun part will be a “straw poll” in which attendees will be asked to vote for their favorite candidate.

The beauty of this year’s Republican primary and caucus gamut is that no clear winner has yet emerged. By now, someone usually has the nomination sewed up, but not so in 2012. Mitt Romney may still be the favorite, but every time he rises someone else knocks him back down, whether it be Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. And always pecking at their heels is Ron Paul who, like the chairman of the Island County Republican Party, Brett Wilhelm, has strong Libertarian leanings. Paul might do well in Island County, where the philosophy of individual freedom with an antipathy toward  foreign adventurism strikes a chord with many people.

Washington’s straw poll caucus results March 3 will certainly be of interest to the national media as candidates fight for every available delegate to take into the national convention Aug. 27 to 30 in Tampa, Fla. Republicans should make it a point to attend the precinct caucuses so they can play a meaningful role in the process.

Democrats have nothing so interesting on the agenda, as President Obama is their shoo-in candidate. But Island County Democrats will be suggesting ideas for the party platform and helping in the process to send national delegates to their convention Sept. 3 to 7 in Charlotte, N.C. But still, it’s fun, entertaining and a learning experience to attend a local grassroots caucus. Island County Democrats’ precinct caucuses will be Sunday, April 15, at four locations in the county.


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