The Next Republican Primary Is In A Blue State

by Noor Al-Sibai

With Kentucky and Oregon's primaries finished, Americans are looking ahead at the final 10 states and territories to hold primaries to choose which candidate each party will select for their nominee. Washington's primary comes after Kentucky and Oregon this month. The state's Republican voters will take to the polls on May 24 to decide which candidate will take the state's 44 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18.

Somewhat confusingly, Washington also has two caucuses, one for each party, and the May 24 primary is the first time since 2008 that the state has held a presidential primary alongside its caucuses. This month's primary is only for Washington's Republican voters to determine how they'll allocate their 44 Republican delegates, while the state's Democratic party said they'll use the results from their March 26 caucus. Bernie Sanders won Washington by a whopping 72.7 percent.

Even more confusingly, the primary ballot will not only show dropout candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson, but it will also give voters the option to select Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as well due to Washington election laws requiring both parties' candidates to be on the ballot regardless of whether they use the results.

Confused yet? Me too.

Because the state has no official party registration, anyone can vote in Washington's Republican primary as long as they select "Republican" on their party affiliation. This means independents and stealthy Democrats Democrats can also cast protest votes for Ted Cruz or any of the other candidates on the state's ballot.

In a poll conducted by Elway Research, a non-partisan firm that polls exclusively in Washington and the Northeast, 11 percent of the 503 polled voters in Washington said they'd be inclined to vote for Donald Trump for president, though the late April polling window also included Cruz and Kasich. Moreover, 22 percent of those polled said they were undecided or declined to name a candidate preference.

Due to the lack of official party registration, the numbers on Washington's party affiliation are fuzzier than in other states. However, Washington is considered "Safe Democrat" by the website 270 to Win. The state has gone blue every presidential election since 1988, and according to the Elway poll, is likely to do so again this year. It will be interesting to see how Trump fares in Washington, since he is the only candidate left in the Republican presidential race.