Joe Biden vs. Bernie Sanders
Joe Biden vs. Bernie Sanders

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders are each gar­ner­ing an almost equal share of Wash­ing­ton State’s ground­break­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, ear­ly results show.

The pre­lim­i­nary num­bers almost exact­ly mir­ror the find­ings of a poll done by Sur­veyUSA for KING5 News last week, which we dis­cussed on Sat­ur­day.

In that poll, Biden and Sanders each received about 35% support.

Biden came in at 36% while Sanders got 35%.

And, as you can see, that’s sim­i­lar to how they are far­ing in the state’s actu­al nom­i­nat­ing event, with the caveat that many votes are left to count. (Sanders and Biden will like­ly both see their per­cent­ages increase as bal­lots are counted.)

Can­di­dateTotal VotesPer­cent­age
Bernie Sanders
Joseph R. Biden
Eliz­a­beth Warren
Michael Bloomberg
Pete Buttigieg
Amy Klobuchar
Tul­si Gabbard
Andrew Yang
Uncom­mit­ted Delegates
Tom Stey­er
Michael Ben­net
Cory Book­er
John Delaney
Deval Patrick

The can­di­dates are also win­ning a near­ly equal num­ber of the state’s coun­ties so far. Sanders is ahead in the fol­low­ing counties:

  1. King
  2. San Juan
  3. What­com
  4. Skag­it
  5. Jef­fer­son
  6. Pacif­ic
  7. Thurston
  8. Chelan
  9. Kit­ti­tas
  10. Yaki­ma
  11. Klick­i­tat
  12. Okanogan
  13. Fer­ry
  14. Grant
  15. Stevens
  16. Adams
  17. Franklin
  18. Whit­man

Mean­while, Biden is ahead in the fol­low­ing counties:

  1. Pierce
  2. Sno­homish
  3. Island
  4. Clal­lam
  5. Grays Har­bor
  6. Mason
  7. Kit­sap
  8. Lewis
  9. Wahki­akum
  10. Cowlitz
  11. Clark
  12. Ska­ma­nia
  13. Dou­glas
  14. Ben­ton
  15. Wal­la Walla
  16. Colum­bia
  17. Garfield
  18. Asotin
  19. Lin­coln
  20. Spokane
  21. Pend Oreille

The mar­gins sep­a­rat­ing the can­di­dates are con­sis­tent­ly not very large. In Grays Har­bor Coun­ty, less than forty votes sep­a­rate Biden and Sanders.

A total of 1,026,102 votes have been cast for Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates thus far, while 531,271 votes have been cast either for Don­ald Trump or anoth­er Repub­li­can (there are 7,862 write-ins so far, account­ing for about 1.48% of the vote). That’s an advan­tage of near­ly two-to-one for the Democrats.

This advan­tage can be seen in the swing coun­ties as well as statewide.

In Pierce Coun­ty, Trump has 61,181 votes and there are nine hun­dred and twen­ty write-ins. Mean­while, there are 102,344 total votes on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side.

In Sno­homish Coun­ty, Trump has 48,458 votes (with eight hun­dred and fifty-sev­en Repub­li­can write-ins) and there are 106,155 total votes on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side. That means that more than twice as many vot­ers in Sno­homish have so far vot­ed the Demo­c­ra­t­ic bal­lot as opposed to the Repub­li­can ballot.

If Democ­rats run­ning down­bal­lot for statewide office can attract the sup­port of peo­ple vot­ing for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee for Pres­i­dent, the Repub­li­can Par­ty faces the prospect of los­ing every sin­gle statewide race this November.

Grant­ed, this is a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, and the gen­er­al elec­tion will be a dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ment. But the high turnout in this pri­ma­ry makes this nom­i­nat­ing event quite dif­fer­ent than past pres­i­den­tial pri­maries. For the first time, both par­ties are using the results to allo­cate all their nation­al con­ven­tion delegates.

That’s result­ed in record pri­ma­ry turnout.

In fact, it is pos­si­ble that by the time this nom­i­nat­ing event is cer­ti­fied, we will have sur­passed the turnout in last year’s gen­er­al elec­tion.

For the sake of com­par­i­son, in 2016, we had total turnout of 34.78% in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, which was mean­ing­less on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side.

We have almost already sur­passed that mark with 34.32% turnout as of Nom­i­nat­ing Night. Once all the bal­lots are count­ed, we’ll have blown past it.

In 2016, around 230,000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic caucuses.

This year, we’re see­ing over a mil­lion par­tic­i­pants already in the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry. That’s a more than four-fold par­tic­i­pa­tion increase between the 2016 and 2020 pres­i­den­tial cycles.

Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki is delighted.

“We’re thrilled that so many more peo­ple from across our state were able to make their voice heard in our nom­i­na­tion process this year,” said Podlodowski.

“478% more peo­ple vot­ing than last cycle shows the ener­gy to defeat Don­ald Trump and his enablers here in Wash­ing­ton State is undeniable.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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