NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, January 6th, 2020

Washingtonians will have thirteen Democratic candidates to choose from in March’s primary

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty today released the list of can­di­dates who have qual­i­fied to appear on the bal­lot in the state’s ground­break­ing 2020 pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry on March 10th. The list is as fol­lows:

  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Michael Ben­net of Col­orado
  • For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden
  • For­mer May­or of New York Michael Bloomberg
  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Cory Book­er of New Jer­sey
  • For­mer South Bend May­or Pete Buttigieg
  • For­mer U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Delaney of Mary­land
  • U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tul­si Gab­bard of Hawaii
  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Amy Klobuchar of Min­neso­ta
  • For­mer Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­er­nor Deval Patrick
  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders of Ver­mont
  • Bil­lion­aire activist Tom Stey­er
  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren of Mass­a­chu­setts
  • Entre­pre­neur Andrew Yang

Two oth­er can­di­dates (Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris and the for­mer Sec­re­tary of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment, Julián Cas­tro) sub­mit­ted the required paper­work to appear on the bal­lot, but recent­ly dropped out of the race. They asked the state par­ty to remove their names from the bal­lot after sus­pend­ing their cam­paigns. Since drop­ping out, Julián Cas­tro has endorsed Eliz­a­beth Warren’s can­di­da­cy.

Wash­ing­ton will hold its pri­ma­ry on March 10th, along with Michi­gan, Mis­sis­sip­pi and Mis­souri. Many polit­i­cal observers believe this tim­ing will place Wash­ing­ton at the cen­ter of a cru­cial moment for the nom­i­na­tion quest.

Nor­mal­ly, mid-March pri­maries are total­ly over­shad­owed by Super Tues­day (which is sched­uled for March 3th). Super Tues­day sees can­di­dates com­pete for a gigan­tic haul of del­e­gates from four­teen states (includ­ing two of the largest states, Texas and Cal­i­for­nia), and sub­se­quent vot­ing days often feel anti­cli­mac­tic by com­par­i­son.

How­ev­er, a cou­ple of fac­tors make 2020’s post Super Tues­day nom­i­nat­ing events more impor­tant than they might oth­er­wise be.

First is the unprece­dent­ed num­ber of can­di­dates on the bal­lot, which will like­ly dilute the effect of the Super Tues­day del­e­gate haul. As a cam­paign strate­gist inter­viewed by Politi­co put it, “We’ve nev­er had a sit­u­a­tion where we get past Super Tues­day and there’s still five peo­ple in the field.” If, as seems like­ly, five or more can­di­dates get through March 3rd and still have a shot at win­ning, the com­pe­ti­tion between them for the remain­ing states (such as Wash­ing­ton) will be espe­cial­ly fierce.

Sec­ond is the pres­ence of bil­lion­aire and for­mer New York May­or Michael Bloomberg, who decid­ed to enter the race only a few weeks ago.

While most of the can­di­dates in the field have gone out of their way to denounce the cor­rupt­ing influ­ence of mon­ey in pol­i­tics, Bloomberg has decid­ed to embrace it ful­ly, pour­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars from his vast per­son­al for­tune into adver­tis­ing, and hir­ing armies of paid cam­paign work­ers.

Bloomberg has delib­er­ate­ly cho­sen to avoid cam­paign­ing in the ear­ly states of Iowa and New Hamp­shire – which are seen as a prov­ing ground for grass­roots cam­paign strate­gies – and set his sights on Super Tues­day states, where he can rely on his vast finan­cial reserves to blow the com­pe­ti­tion out of the water on the adver­tis­ing front in expen­sive media mar­kets such as Cal­i­for­nia.

Bloomberg’s expect­ed adver­tis­ing and media dom­i­nance in the Super Tues­day states has led oth­er, less well-fund­ed cam­paigns to seek alter­na­tive routes to vic­tory, and it seems like­ly that Wash­ing­ton and its fel­low March pri­ma­ry states will get a lot of atten­tion from these can­di­dates.

Washington’s vot­ers will receive their bal­lots by mail, and the eigh­teen-day vot­ing peri­od will begin on Feb­ru­ary 21st, last­ing until 8 PM on March 10th.

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has nev­er before used a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry to allo­cate its nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates, so this pri­ma­ry will be his­toric. The par­ty will still hold cau­cus­es in April and May for the pur­pos­es of del­e­gate selec­tion and par­ty­build­ing. The first cau­cus­es will take place on Sun­day, April 26th, at 1 PM in urban and sub­ur­ban leg­isla­tive dis­tricts.

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