2024 Republican presidential primary candidates
A photo collage created by NPI of Republican presidential primary candidates who have qualified for the March 12th presidential primary, using Creative Commons-licensed photos and campaign logos reproduced under the fair use exception to U.S. copyright law

The 2024 pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot in Wash­ing­ton State is set to include five names on the Repub­li­can side, Sec­re­tary of State Hobbs’ office announced today, acknowl­edg­ing the receipt of a list of names from the Repub­li­can Party.

“The Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty has sub­mit­ted five can­di­date names to go onto the 2024 Pres­i­den­tial Pri­ma­ry bal­lot: Don­ald Trump, Ron DeSan­tis, Nik­ki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie,” the office announced in a state­ment. “Under RCW 29A.56.031, each major polit­i­cal par­ty has until Jan­u­ary 9th to sub­mit can­di­date names for the Pres­i­den­tial Primary.”

RCW 29A.56.031 is the state statute gov­ern­ing place­ment of names onto the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot. The cur­rent statute — which dates back to 2019 and which NPI was heav­i­ly involved in get­ting passed — makes it the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the major par­ties to draw up a list of names for the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot out of respect for their First Amend­ment right of free assembly.

That way, the Sec­re­tary of State is relieved of the prob­lem­at­ic bur­den of decid­ing which can­di­dates should be on each par­ty’s bal­lot. In oth­er states, sec­re­taries of state do have that bur­den and are wrestling with the ques­tion of whether to exclude Don­ald Trump on Four­teenth Amend­ment grounds, due to his incite­ment of an insur­rec­tion on Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021, exact­ly three years ago tomorrow.

Wash­ing­ton State law stipulates:

Each par­ty must deter­mine which can­di­dates are to be placed on the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot for that par­ty. The chair of each par­ty must sub­mit to the sec­re­tary of state the names of the can­di­dates to appear on the bal­lot for that par­ty no lat­er than six­ty-three days before the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry. Once sub­mit­ted, changes must not be made to the can­di­dates that will appear on the ballot.

The pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry is what’s known in state legal par­lance as a spe­cial cir­cum­stances elec­tion. How­ev­er, in real­i­ty, it’s not an elec­tion at all, but rather a nom­i­nat­ing event that will influ­ence the allo­ca­tion of del­e­gates to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can nation­al con­ven­tions this summer.

The actu­al votes for the par­ties’ nom­i­nees will be cast in Mil­wau­kee (for the Repub­li­cans) and in Chica­go (for the Democ­rats) by nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates elect­ed from all fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, and U.S. territories.

If you’re a Wash­ing­ton vot­er, you’ll be sent a bal­lot in a few weeks that will have a Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­umn and a Repub­li­can col­umn. If you wish to par­tic­i­pate, you must vote for only one can­di­date from one par­ty, and you must attest that you under­stand that by par­tic­i­pat­ing in that par­ty’s pri­ma­ry, you are choos­ing to affil­i­ate with that par­ty — at least for the moment in time that you cast your ballot.

The attes­ta­tions will be word­ed as follows:

“I declare that my par­ty pref­er­ence is the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and I will not par­tic­i­pate in the nom­i­na­tion process of any oth­er polit­i­cal par­ty for the 2024 Pres­i­den­tial election.”

“I declare that my par­ty pref­er­ence is the Repub­li­can Par­ty and I will not par­tic­i­pate in the nom­i­na­tion process of any oth­er polit­i­cal par­ty for the 2024 Pres­i­den­tial election.”

The attes­ta­tions are iden­ti­cal except for the names of the parties.

When you vote for a can­di­date in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, you are express­ing a pref­er­ence as to which per­son you want one of the major par­ties to nom­i­nate. If enough vot­ers share your pref­er­ence, the can­di­date you like will receive an allot­ment of del­e­gates to the nation­al con­ven­tion from Wash­ing­ton. You can help influ­ence who becomes a del­e­gate, too, if you’re inter­est­ed, by going to a cau­cus. And if you’d like to be a del­e­gate your­self, you can throw your hat in the ring.

After the pri­ma­ry is cer­ti­fied, the major par­ties will receive a list of names of every­one who vot­ed in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry. How you vot­ed is a secret; the fact that you vot­ed and which par­ty you affil­i­at­ed with is disclosable.

As men­tioned, on the Repub­li­can side of the bal­lot, you’ll see these names:

  1. Don­ald Trump
  2. Ron DeSan­tis
  3. Nik­ki Haley
  4. Vivek Ramaswamy
  5. Chris Christie

(It might be more accu­rate if the Repub­li­can side of the bal­lot said Auto­crat­ic instead of Repub­li­can, but that’s a dis­cus­sion for anoth­er post!)

On the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side of the bal­lot, you can expect to see these names:

  1. Joe Biden
  2. Dean Phillips

Each par­ty has its own process for qual­i­fy­ing. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s process is spelled out in its Del­e­gate Selec­tion and Affir­ma­tive Action Plan, or DSAAP, an impor­tant par­ty rules doc­u­ment that is draft­ed by the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and approved by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Com­mit­tee. (I sit on the WSDCC as a vot­ing member.)

The 2024 DSAAP states:

Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, who are eli­gi­ble by DNC rules to obtain del­e­gates and who seek to par­tic­i­pate in Washington’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry will be required to sub­mit a peti­tion for can­di­da­cy to the Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty with 1,000 sig­na­tures of Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers who pub­licly declare them­selves to be Democ­rats, and a $2,500 admin­is­tra­tive ser­vices fee. Forms for the state­ment of can­di­da­cy and peti­tion will be avail­able on Decem­ber 1, 2023.

The forms must be received no lat­er than Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 5, 2024, by 5:00 PM PT, and must be returned by cer­ti­fied mail to Wash­ing­ton State Democ­rats, PO Box 4027, Seat­tle WA 98194, or in per­son to the par­ty affairs staff at the office of the Wash­ing­ton State Democ­rats, 615 2nd Ave., Suite 580, Seat­tle WA 98104. For pur­pos­es of this sub­sec­tion (A)(1)(c), “received” means: (i) Being phys­i­cal­ly received by a mem­ber of the WSDCC staff by the close of busi­ness of the required dead­line; or (ii) for appli­ca­tions received online or elec­tron­i­cal­ly, by mid­night, of the required deadline.

This evening at 5 PM was the dead­line for Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates to sub­mit their peti­tions. The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty now has until next Tues­day to turn over its list of names to the Sec­re­tary of State.

The Repub­li­cans’ qual­i­fi­ca­tion process is a bit dif­fer­ent. The require­ments include pay­ing a $20,000 fee — that’s eight times more than what Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates have to put up — and obtain­ing a dozen sig­na­tures from mem­bers of the party’s state cen­tral com­mit­tee rather than get­ting a thou­sand sig­na­tures from voters.

Mil­i­tary and over­seas bal­lots for the March 12th pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry are due to be mailed out on Jan­u­ary 27th. Bal­lots to in-state vot­ers will fol­low on Feb­ru­ary 23rd.

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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2 replies on “Washington State Republican Party submits five names for 24 presidential primary ballot”

  1. I moved to unin­cor­po­rat­ed King Coun­ty from Ore­gon about 2 12 years ago. I have asked many, many peo­ple — some in very high places —to explain how Wash­ing­ton cau­cus­es and pri­ma­ry elec­tions work togeth­er dur­ing this elec­tion sea­son. Gen­er­al­ly, when I asked my ques­tion, the answer was a blank expres­sion — no one could tell me how it all worked. Your arti­cle is the first and best expla­na­tion that I have seen. Thank you very much!

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