Bernie Sanders has won the Washington caucuses by a landslide margin. See photos, videos and reports from around Seattle, the Eastside and beyond.
What you need to know:
- Caucus results from Washington State Democrats
- Bernie Sanders backers demand Washington superdelegates ‘Feel the Bern’
- Some families split over Hillary vs. Bernie
- Photo gallery: Strong turnout for Saturday’s caucuses
- Video: Washington voters tell how they made their choices
- Q&A: How Washington state’s Democratic caucuses work
This is a report of the Washington state caucuses as they unfolded Saturday.
Full recap: Bernie wins big in Washington caucuses
UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.
The Associated Press says Bernie Sanders has won the Washington state caucuses.
UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.
Bernie Sanders has 76 percent of the delegates awarded so far and Hillary Clinton has 24 percent. Across the state, 31 percent of the precincts have reported result.
UPDATE, 3 p.m.
With 25 percent of the precincts reporting, Bernie Sanders has 77 percent of the delegates awarded so far. He’s leading by a margin of 53 percent.
King County is tied, with one delegate each for Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
UPDATE, 2 p.m.
Bernie Sanders is now leading with 76 percent of the delegates awarded so far. About 19 percent of the precincts are reporting results.
Eight counties have 100 percent of its precincts counted.
Chelan – Sanders: 72 percent, Clinton: 28 percent
Douglas – Sanders: 73 percent, Clinton: 27 percent
Lincoln – Sanders: 71 percent, Clinton: 26 percent, Uncommitted: 3 percent
Adams – Sanders: 74 percent, Clinton: 26 percent
Wahkiakum – Sanders: 89 percent, Clinton: 11 percent
Cowlitz – Sanders: 77 percent, Clinton: 23 percent
Columbia – Sanders: 77 percent, Clinton: 23 percent
Garfield – Sanders: 60 percent, Clinton: 40 percent
UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.
With 7 percent of the precincts reporting, Bernie Sanders is leading with 75 percent of the votes counted, according to Washington State Democrats.
Caucus results are available on the Democrats’ website.
UPDATE: 12:37 p.m.
At Cascade Middle School in Vancouver, the caucuses for 13 precincts attracted hundreds of people who crowded into a auditorium where there was standing room only for late arrivals.
The school is located on the eastern flank of Vancouver, where subdivisions sit across the street from berry fields in a reflection of the rapid growth of the past two decades in this southwest Washington city.
At the school, the caucuses heavily favored Sanders, with the Vermont senator winning one precinct 62 to 11.
Jordan Wilcox, a 35-year-old health-care worker and Sanders supporter, said Sanders is accused of being a single issue candidate but income equality is the “waterfall issue for everything else.”
Wilcox says said appreciates what Clinton has done but that she is too close to the establishment.
Sheryl Stevens, a 70-year-old retired teacher, spoke out at her precinct caucus in favor of Clinton. “I was here for her eight years ago and got trampled, and now I’m here for her again.”
Stevens admires Clinton for her work on women’s rights and says many younger women don’t appreciate how hard it has been to make progress.
“I know she is competent. She knows who to go to get things done,” Stevens said.
— Hal Bernton
UPDATE, 12:25 p.m.
Kyle Keraga, a 22-year-old program manager at Microsoft, emerged as a natural leader in legislative precinct 48-2967, a downtown Redmond precinct where many of the voters are young tech employees.
Keraga, originally from New York, became the precinct captain and was elected as a delegate for Bernie Sanders. The precinct went overwhelmingly for Sanders, and was one of the last ones to vote at the Redmond Senior Center.
Pushed out of the building itself because of concerns that the Fire Marshall would shut down the building, the voters of 48-2967 took over the senior center’s outdoor truck loading dock, which served as an impromptu platform for political speeches.
Keraga said he was voting for Sanders because the country needs a political revolution. “What that means to me is invigorating the youth vote, and believing in the political system again. He is our best chance to change the climate now, and begin working toward the future.”
If Sanders loses the nomination, “I will vote for Hillary and encourage everyone to vote for her,” he said. But he added that he believed Sanders was the better candidate, and would attract a larger following. Clinton, he said, is too representative of the political establishment, and Keraga said he fears that will turn voters against her.
He described himself as part of “a younger generation that’s coming into their own, and asking why this is the system we have to inherit.”
Keraga received 55 votes, the second-highest, in his precinct to be a delegate. As the vote wrapped up, a woman tweaked his elbow and said, “I hope you’ll run for political office one day.”
UPDATE, 12:05 p.m.
Big crowds overwhelmed some Democratic precinct caucus locations Saturday, with early reports of heavy turnout and many precincts favoring Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. At Seattle’s Town Hall, the 900-capacity meeting space couldn’t accommodate all the caucus-goers trying to squeeze in, leaving some precincts to meet in the parking lot.
UPDATE, 11:34 a.m.
In legislative precinct 48-2967, a mostly younger crowd turned the truck loading platform at the back of the Redmond Senior Center into an impromptu stage for political speeches.
One person after another climbed up on the loading dock and made a speech in front of the crowd of about 50, most of whom said they were supporting Sanders. The group frequently erupted in cheers.
“Look at the people who have showed up for Bernie Sanders,” one man said. “If Bernie Sanders is the candidate, people will turn out to vote Democratic for everything.” The crowd cheered.
“I’m super impressed that so many people came out,” another man said. “How many are here for the first time?” Nearly everyone raised their hands.
“I support Bernie because unfortunately Trump is on the way to get the nomination and I think we all agree that would be terrible for the country.”
“Horrible,” someone in the crowd shouted.
Another speaker, a man who said he grew up in Illinois farming country, said “I’ve never been involved in a caucus before so this is so friggin’ amazing”
The man said he had $160,000 in student debt. “It sucks because I can’t think about starting my life until I’m about 40,” or when the debt is paid off, he said. Sanders is the only candidate talking about ways to reduce student debt, he said.
Another speaker counseled the crowd not to write off Sanders with the view that he wouldn’t win the national election. Polls show him soundly beating Trump, the man said.
“I will definitely vote or Clinton over any of the Republicans,” he said. “But we should not write off Bernie as electable. Many conservatives in Vermont have voted for him their whole lives.”
UPDATE, 11:18 a.m.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders are demanding Washington’s 17 “superdelegates” fall in line and support Sanders if he wins today’s caucuses.
A petition circulated on MoveOn.org demands those delegates “follow the lead of average Democratic party voters and uphold authentic democracy.”
UPDATE, 11:02 a.m.
As debates continue, some precincts are starting to count votes.
UPDATE, 10:42 a.m.
In a corner of the Redmond Senior Center patio, a passionate debate raged over the two candidates in legislative district 48-2449.
“When I hear Bernie talking, he sounds like Obama eight years ago,” one man said. “But there’s still something in me — I’m torn. Clinton has had these posts, like Secretary of State. In the end, we’ve got a good problem. The Republicans have a terrible problem. They have two crazy people.”
The group laughed.
“I’ve been a Bernie supporter for years now,” a woman told the group. “He hasn’t spent his career trying to run for president. His message is true and powerful. I like Hillary but part of me is real concerned. I know people who will not vote for her.”
A man standing next to her said: “Poll shows Sanders beats all the Republicans.”
Another woman said, “The difference between the two is Hillary is a seasoned politician. That’s an asset, but also a drawback. We end up with these compromises.”
The debate continued.
At Cascade Middle School in Vancouver, Ward Upson, a retired teacher, surveyed the standing room only crowd that showed up for the caucus and compared it to eight years ago when Clinton faced off against President Obama. “It sure wasn’t like this. It was a quiet little meeting,” he said, estimating today’s turnout at twice the number of the 2008 caucus.
UPDATE, 10:15 a.m.
Marcus Jenkins, 54, said he’s supporting Clinton. “I feel, obviously, she’s been through the cycle before and she has the best shot. And she’s the best shot of not having a President Trump,” he added.
Jenkins said he was worried that Sanders is too old, but that he’d support the Vermont senator if he got the nomination.
“No President Trump,” he said, shuddering.
Kim and David Meade, who were talking to Jenkins in the courtyard of the overflowing Redmond Senior Center before the caucus began, said they were both planning to vote for Sanders. Kim, 48, said she’s been on the fence for a little while, but “Bernie just speaks to me.” David, 50, said he originally supported Clinton, but has switched to Sanders as his candidacy has seemed more viable in recent weeks.
UPDATE, 10:06 a.m.
At the Southside School in Shelton, several caucus-goers sported Bernie Sanders shirts and buttons. One of those was Wendy Music, a 48-year-old massage therapist and Shelton resident.
“I feel like probably for the first time since I’ve been voting I connect with somebody I really believe in and that I trust,” said Music, who sported a Sanders t-shirt. “And that’s not part of bus business or Wall Street.”
“We really need somebody else besides Hillary to go up against Trump,” she added later.
Paul Kocina also said he liked Sanders – but was caucusing instead for Clinton, who he described as the more electable Democrat for the November ballot.
“I like Bernie Sanders, I like what he stands for, real pie-in-the-sky,” said Kocina, a 64-year-old contractor who lives in Shelton. But, “I’ve been through that in my 20s and everything, and I’m more of a realist now.”
– Joseph O’Sullivan
UPDATE, 9:55 a.m.
At 9:50, an organizer for the Redmond caucus announced that the senior center had reached its legal capacity, and that it would be shut down by the fire Marshall “if we don’t do something.”
Caucus-goers were directed to the patio. There were not enough tables for all the groups, and some had to stand in circles, holding their legislative district signs in the air while they waited for the event to begin.
The high rate of participation pleased Aaron Mullen, who was at a caucus for the first time in his life. The 37-year-old Washington native said he believes participation and education will help turn the country around.
There is a notable absence of signs here in Redmond but the audience seems overwhelmingly in favor of Sanders.
UPDATE, 9:40 a.m.
For some caucus participants, the most interesting debates have been at their kitchen tables.
Sharon Frank says Bernie Sanders is “more practical.” David Frank says Hillary Clinton is “more electable.” The wife and husband went to Eckstein Middle School to caucus.
“It’s unusual, because we’re usually on the same side,” Sharon Frank said. “I will support Hillary, and he’ll obviously support Bernie. If it were Trump it would be [different].”
“We tend to just avoid arguments,” David Frank added.
UPDATE, 9:25 a.m.
At the Redmond Senior Center, people began lining up around 8:30 a.m., and by the time doors opened at 9:15, the line stretched 40 people long.
Many said they were voting for Bernie Sanders.
“I think people are very excited — I have never seen people this excited,” said Aaron Mullen, 37, of Redmond. Among friends, “all I see is support for Sanders.”
Jacob Grenier, 29, and Anastasia Ryan, 23, were among the first in line. Grenier said he supported nearly everything that Sanders has proposed. “I feel the opposite about Hillary,” he said.
Ryan said she liked Sanders for his support for women’s rights, his concerns about mass incarceration, and his interest in making college free for all. “I could go back to school,” she said.
“And he is the only politician that addresses global warming,” she said.
George Rankin, 52, said he’s supporting Bernie Sanders because he opposed the Iraq War from the outset. “Hillary had a chance to vote against it, and she blew that,” he said.
Rankin said he was a big Obama supporter and did a lot of work for him in the last election. If Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, he said, he’d vote for Clinton because “I’m a Democrat.”
But he added, “I’m tempted to say I’d move to Canada. She’s not evil — but she’s not representing what I want to represent. I’m really afraid she’s not going to win.”
UPDATE, 9:05 a.m.
Rather than sleep like most teenagers, Natalie Latta, 17, headed back to school Saturday morning. The Edmonds-Woodway senior, who’s headed to Shoreline Community College next year, said she considers herself a Bernie Sanders supporter.
She’s been following his campaign on Twitter and most of her friends are similarly feeling the Bern, Latta said.
“I really like things he’s bringing attention to since I’m going to college next year like his making college free, and I noticed during the first debate he brought up mental health services. It was around the time of the (mass) shooting in Oregon,” she said.
What’s Latta think of Hillary Clinton?
“I’m not entirely sure. I like some of the policies she does bring up like trying to equal the pay gap between men and women. In other areas it’s hard to tell what she wants to do, whereas is Bernie is more straightforward with it.”
UPDATE, 8:55 a.m.
UPDATE, 8:40 a.m.
Marian Squibb, 90, was the first caucus-goer to show up at Edmonds-Woodway High School on Saturday morning. She parked her car outside the school at 8 a.m. on the dot after a short drive from her retirement home.
“My husband and I always voted Republican,” she said. “This is my first time ever (caucusing as a Democrat).”
Squibb’s adult children are Democrats and were pleasantly surprised when they heard she’d be turning blue for the weekend.
“I’ve been getting a little concerned about religion in politics on the Republican side,” she said. “And I don’t care for the Republican candidates this time around. Trump, he’s the worst. His language, he shouldn’t be using it.”
Squibb said Trump’s popularity has bewildered her.
“I don’t understand what’s going on,” she said. “Why is he getting so many voters. He doesn’t know politics. Or maybe he does, underneath. But he doesn’t act like it.”
Squibb was leaning toward Bernie Sanders.
“I’m not too fond of Hillary. There’s to much money in her politics,” she said, adding that she hoped the caucus wouldn’t be a “knockdown drag out” affair.
Squibb wore a special T-shirt for her first blush with the Democratic Party. It reads, “I’m going on an adventure.”
UPDATE, 8:20 a.m.
Organizers are just beginning to set up for today’s caucuses, which begin at 10 a.m.