Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ campaigns are dispatching staff and opening offices in Washington state ahead of the March 26 Democratic caucuses.
The Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns have opened offices and dispatched paid staffers to Washington state, amplifying their presence here ahead of the March 26 Democratic caucuses.
Clinton’s campaign announced Monday it was opening five offices across the state, with kickoff events throughout the week at the locations in Seattle, Everett, Renton, Spokane and Tacoma.
Sanders’ campaign opened offices in Seattle on Sunday and said it has seven offices and 20 paid staffers here, looking to gain an edge in the caucuses that will determine which candidate wins the bulk of the state’s 118 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July.
Even before dispatching paid organizers, Sanders had a robust volunteer effort in Washington and drew big crowds when he visited Seattle in August. Through the end of December, he’d received more individual donations from state supporters than all the other presidential candidates combined.
“I think that people in Washington are definitely feeling the Bern,” said Joan Kato, state director for the Sanders campaign, citing long lines at recent canvassing kickoff events in Bellingham and Spokane.
But Clinton, the former secretary of state, has the backing of the state’s top Democratic elected officials, including U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and the six Democratic members of the state’s U.S. House delegation, who each issued new statements of support Monday.
“Hillary is a progressive who will always be on the side of working people. She has all the experience you need to be a good president, and she’s focused on the right issues like raising the minimum wage and creating more opportunities for affordable college, housing and health care,” said U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, in his statement.
McDermott is scheduled to speak at the Clinton campaign’s Seattle office opening on Tuesday.
Clinton campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Formas would not say how many paid staffers the campaign has in Washington state.
However, the campaign has had staffers on the ground here since January and recently hired Lyle Canceko, a former aide to Washington Govs. Gary Locke and Chris Gregoire, as its state director.
The results of the caucuses, neighborhood-level meetings held in churches, schools and meeting halls, will bind 101 of the state’s 118 Democratic delegates to Sanders or Clinton in proportion to their support in each of the state’s 10 congressional districts.
The remaining 17 are automatic superdelegates — party leaders and top Democratic elected officials including members of Congress and Gov. Jay Inslee — who get to choose for themselves which candidate to back.
Republicans will wait until the state’s presidential primary on May 24 to determine which GOP candidate gets the state’s 44 delegates.