Share story

The Tri-City Herald reports overcrowding at the Kennewick Convention Center caused an estimated 1,500 people to be turned away from Republican caucuses there.

Republican officials said they’d expected 2,000 people at the site, but more than 3,000 showed up, packing the venue and spilling outside.

According to the Herald:

“We where overwhelmed,” said Tony Benegas of West Richland, chairman of the Kennewick caucuses. “It’s tough because it’s all volunteers — nobody gets paid to do this.”


“I am extremely sorry we could not accommodate everyone,” he said. “I apologize to those folks who we had to turn away. We fit in as many as we could, but we had more than we could physically fit in the rooms.”

Two of the people turned away contacted The Seattle Times to say they’d showed up early – around 9 a.m., yet were still unable to get into the caucuses.

Michael Minette, of Kennewick, said he waited in line from about 9:10 until 10:20, when the doors were closed.

“There was a lot of chanting, a lot of angry voices, a lot of frustration,” he said.