Washington Republican caucuses, 2012

2012 Washington Republican caucuses
Washington (state)
March 3, 2012 (2012-03-03)

Candidate Mitt Romney Ron Paul
Party Republican Republican
Home state Massachusetts Texas
Delegate count 37 5
Popular vote 19,111 12,594
Percentage 37.6% 24.8%

Candidate Rick Santorum Newt Gingrich
Party Republican Republican
Home state Pennsylvania Georgia
Delegate count 1 0
Popular vote 12,089 5,221
Percentage 23.8% 10.3%

Results of the nonbinding strawpoll by county. Orange indicates a county won by Romney, gold by Paul, dark green by Santorum.

The Republican caucuses were held on March 3, 2012.[1] Since 1992, the Washington Republicans have used a presidential preferential primary in addition to the caucuses. The primary was, however, canceled this year for budgetary reasons, as was the one in 2004.[2]

Caucus system

The initial caucuses were held on March 3, 2012, with voters reporting to caucus locations by precinct. However, the caucuses did not allocate delegates to the different candidates, they did only elected delegates to the county conventions and took part in a nonbinding strawpoll. County conventions convened all through March and April, each picking delegates to the state conventions who was not bound to any particular candidate either. The state convention was held on May 31-June 2, 2012. At that time, state delegates to the national convention was legally bound to specific candidates.


With 3,677,919 registered voters as of February 29,[3] the turnout was 1.4%.[4]

Washington state Republican caucuses nonbinding strawpoll
Candidate Votes Percentage
Mitt Romney 19,111 37.65%
Ron Paul 12,594 24.81%
Rick Santorum 12,089 23.81%
Newt Gingrich 5,221 10.28%
Uncommitted 1,656 3.26%
Total Write-Ins 93 0.18%
Totals 50,764 100.00%

Controversy at 37th Legislative District Caucus

The 37th Legislative District covers parts of King County,[5] and the Republican caucus for the district was held Saturday, April 21 at Dimmitt Middle School. The caucus was broken up by King County Republican Party[6] Chairman Lori Sotelo after the caucus elected Ron Paul supporter Tamra Smilanich as chair. Sotelo declared that the caucus was no longer a Party event, but had become a Ron Paul Campaign event, and that the attendees would have to vacate the building.[7] As Smilanich attempted to conduct business, Sotelo stated to the caucus, "The Ron Paul campaign does not have authority to rent this space. They have not provided insurance for this building", and (addressing Smilanich) "You do not have authority to run the meeting in this building. You will have ten minutes before this building must be vacated, Tamra." [8] The caucus was moved outside at about 12:30 pm, business was resumed, and delegates to the April 28 county convention were elected, all eleven of those being Paul supporters.[9][10] Each caucus-goer had been required to pay a $10 fee to attend the caucus, Sotelo saying that the fee was to help pay for the party's expenses for using the school. Sotelo refused to refund the $10 fees after the caucus was moved outside.[7]


There was no formal system of allocating delegates to candidates before the state convention. At each meeting before the convention, the participants decided the best course of action for electing delegates. The 40 elected delegates at the state convention are legally bound to vote for their stated presidential preference as of the convention on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention. There was not, however, any obligation to align with the results of the presidential preference poll results. The 3 automatic (RNC) delegates are not legally bound to vote for a candidate.

The multiple layers (and time between them) complicated estimates of eventual national delegate numbers. Delegates who did not show up for the county conventions was replaced by alternates who may have favored completely different candidates. At the time of the state convention the only two candidates still running an active campaign was Romney and Paul. The day before the convention Santorum urged his supporters to back Romney[11] resulting in an unified convention electing a large majority of the delegates to be bound for Romney, at this time the presumptive nominee. He should only have been allocated 15 delegates if this had been a primary allocating delegates, but 34 delegates bound to him were elected at the convention. Paul, the other active campaigning candidate, on the other hand would have expected 10 delegates in a projected count but only 5 delegates bound to him were elected.

Convention Results[12][13][14]
Candidate 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th State Party
Mitt Romney 3 3 0 3 3 3 0 3 3 3 10 3 37
Ron Paul 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 5
Rick Santorum 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 30 10 3 43

See also


  1. Grygiel, Chris (September 27, 2011). "Washington state GOP to hold presidential caucus March 3". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. ISSN 0745-970X. OCLC 3734418. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  2. "GOP candidates vie for delegates in Washington, feet planted in Ohio". Fox News. March 3, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  3. "Elections & Voting". Washington Secretary of State - Elections Division. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  4. Washington Republican - The Green Papers
  5. "37th Legislative District". wa-demchairs.org. Washington State Democratic Chairs Organization. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  6. "King County Republican Party".
  7. 1 2 Brunner, Jim (April 24, 2012). "King County GOP leader boots caucus outside after Ron Paul backers take over". seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  8. orange11emilie (Emilie Rensink). "KCGOP's Lori Sotelo Tries to End Caucus When Ron Paul Supporter is Elected as Chair: Voter Fraud?". youtube.com.
  9. "Ben Swann's Reality Check". fox19.com. April 25, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  10. Rensink, Emilie (April 22, 2012). "King County GOP's Lori Sotelo disrupts caucus, citing Ron Paul 'operative'". Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  11. "Santorum Calls for Supporters in Washington State to Back Romney". NW daily marker. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  12. http://www.tacoma2012.com/
  13. http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/WA-R
  14. https://twitter.com/FHQ/status/209025914649067520
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