I fully expected to be the only person from my Capitol Hill precinct to attend today's caucus. On this point, I was correct. But no small number of people from the neighborhood had the same idea. Mostly guys, mostly in their 20s.
And they were all there to vote for Ron Paul. This is in addition to all the people that were allegedly there to get themselves elected as stealth delegates for Dr. Paul.
The caucus at Roosevelt was a pooled caucus, meaning that all the precinct caucuses of the 43rd legislative district were being held in the same place. This totaled a few hundred people. I'd say the signs, buttons, and T-shirts for Paul outnumbered everyone else by a factor of 3. About a half dozen of the aforementioned 20-somethings were sitting behind me in the bleachers (we met in the school's gym). They all worked for either Microsoft or Amazon, based on their conversation. When someone raised a question about the rule for electing delegates--specifically, since the requirement for election was 50% of the precinct attendees plus one, what was to be done in the event of a two-person precinct in which neither attendee agreed to vote for the other--one of them remarked, "well, you can tell that guy is a programmer."
The other order of business before the entire group was whether we wanted to hear from representatives of the four presidential candidates before we began the actual caucuses. They took a vote by hands, and it was split nearly in half. They then took a voice vote. I think more people said "yea", but everyone who said "no" said it really loudly. Finally, someone moved that the pooled portion of the caucus be adjourned immediately. The motion carried unanimously, and our precinct caucuses began.
First order of business was to elect a chair for the precinct. I won in a landslide. It then fell to me to preside over the election of our two delegates to the state convention. After opening the floor to nominations, I nominated myself. Hearing no other nominations, I called a vote. I was elected unanimously. I opened the floor for nominations to the second delegate slot. None were given. Ditto for our alternates. I will have to make sure that I stay healthy.
The next order of business was to tally votes in the presidential straw poll. Ron Paul carried our precinct with 100% of the vote. I counted twice, just to be sure.
Finally, there was a questionnaire regarding the priorities of the Republican Party in Washington State and nationally. Our precinct reached a consensus in favor of marriage equality, school vouchers, light rail and universal health care, and against eminent domain abuse. We are very progressive Republicans in the 43rd.
Given that the party insiders running this thing are clearly unhappy about the fact that young independents were swamping the caucus for Paul, I have to give them credit for keeping things civil. There were certainly some bemused looks on the faces of older Republicans as they interacted with their younger fellow caucus-goers. But nobody was confrontational about it, at least as far as I saw. It may have been a Republican event, but it's still Seattle, after all.
The King County Republican Convention will be held on April 28, "somewhere in the Bellevue area". I have a distinct feeling the contingent from our side of the lake will be made to feel somewhat less welcome at that stage, but we shall see.