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Valley Democratic caucus a success
SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - Democracy reigned supreme earlier this month when more than 300 people met at Snoqualmie Middle School for the Valley's 5th District Democratic Presidential Caucus.
"The fact is that all told, 335 people showed up and absolutely jammed that room at the middle school and the library," said Dave Olson, a first-time attendee to a local caucus.
"This is definitely the largest turnout we've had by two or three times," said Kevin White, who headed the caucus.
In the past, presidential democratic caucuses have averaged about 40,000 participants statewide, but this year party officials sent out word early that larger accommodations should be secured as numbers could push 100,000. Final totals from the Feb. 7 event have that number at around 200,000.
According to Tom Vance chair of the 5th district, which includes North Bend, Fall City and Snoqualmie, the group had 1,870 voters turn out at seven different locations. The Snoqualmie location was among the largest, he said.
The area caucuses were the first step in a process that will find delegates traveling to the national convention in Boston to nominate the Democratic candidate for president.
Upon entering the caucus, residents broke up into their specific precincts - 36 were represented - to discuss the candidates. Candidates receiving support from less than 15 percent of those attending a precinct caucus are essentially excluded. When that happens, others try to convince the supporters of the "not viable" candidates to join their side.
Fall City's Nancy Myhre, a precinct committee officer and caucus participant since 1984, said when she sat down to meet with her 20 precinct members, only one was an acquaintance.
Unlike past caucuses, a prevailing attitude of unity among the party permeated at the 2004 event, Myhre said. She added that it was the largest turnout she'd witnessed.
"When you talk about that many people showing up on a Saturday morning, that's incredible," she said.
The final vote at the caucus was 50 percent for John Kerry; 28 percent for Howard Dean; 8 percent for John Edwards; 2 percent for Dennis Kucinich; 2 percent for Wesley Clark; and 8 percent uncommitted
Statewide it was Kerry with 48 percent who prevailed; Dean followed with 30 percent. Kucinich received eight percent, Clark had three percent and three percent were uncommitted.
According to Olson, the event not only reinforced his preference of the primary system as the way to "determine grass-roots choices for the presidential nominations of the major parties," it also was a chance to bond with his neighbors.
"The experience offered living proof that democracy is alive and well in Snoqualmie Valley," said Olson.
Travis Peterson can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.