Battle narrows to Biden and Trump

Tuesday’s primaries give each the delegates needed for a November contest

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump clinched their party nominations with decisive victories in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington state on Tuesday.

The North Olympic Peninsula mirrored those wins.

An unusual addition to the primaries was the decision by the Democratic Party to include on the ballot the possibility of voting for uncommitted delegates. Such a choice was not on the Republican ballot.

The protest vote of Biden’s policy concerning Israel and Gaza won 57,878 votes, or 8.02 percent, statewide as of Wednesday.

Voting for uncommitted delegates means the voter wants to send delegates to the Democratic National Convention who aren’t pledged to Biden.

Such delegates can cast votes for any candidate for the presidential nomination at the conventions.

At least 15 percent of votes in Washington’s Democratic primary needed to be cast for uncommitted delegates for the state to send an unpledged delegate pool to the DNC.

As of Wednesday, that had not happened, although the choice was the second-largest vote-getter in the Democratic primary.

Biden and Trump were the only candidates on their respective party ballots in Washington state who had not suspended their campaigns for the 2024 presidential nomination.

The outcome of Tuesday’s contests was never in doubt, The Associated Press noted, but the magnitude of their wins gave each man the delegate majority he needed to claim his party’s nomination at the summertime national conventions.

Nationally, the results set up a general election rematch that many voters do not want, AP said, adding that at 81, Biden is already the oldest president in U.S. history, while the 77-year-old Trump is facing decades in prison as a defendant in four criminal cases.

In Seattle, 26-year-old voter Bella Rivera, a preschool teacher who uses they/them pronouns. said they hoped their “uncommitted” vote would would serve as a wake-up call for the Democratic party, AP said.

“If you really want our votes, if you want to win this election, you’re going to have to show a little bit more either support of Palestinian liberation — that’s something that’s very important to us — and ceasing funds to Israel,” Rivera said.

Almost 3,000 miles away in Georgia, retiree Donna Graham said she would have preferred another Republican nominee over Trump, but she said there’s no way she’d ever vote for Biden in the general election.

“He wasn’t my first choice, but he’s the next best thing,” Graham said of Trump. “It’s sad that it’s the same old matchup as four years ago.”

In a statement, Biden celebrated the nomination while casting Trump as a serious threat to democracy, AP said.

Trump, Biden said, “is running a campaign of resentment, revenge, and retribution that threatens the very idea of America.”

He continued, “I am honored that the broad coalition of voters representing the rich diversity of the Democratic Party across the country have put their faith in me once again to lead our party — and our country — in a moment when the threat Trump poses is greater than ever.”

Trump, in a video posted on social media, celebrated what he called “a great day of victory,” AP said.

“But now we have to get back to work because we have the worst president in the history of our country,” Trump said of Biden. “So, we’re not going to take time to celebrate. We’ll celebrate in eight months when the election is over.”

Statewide, Biden won 614,477 votes, or 85.14 percent of the 721,710 Democratic votes cast; while Dean Phillips won 21,403 votes, or 2.97 percent; and Marianne Williamson won 19,325 votes, or 2.68 percent.

In the Republican primary statewide, Trump took 481,667 votes, or 74.45 percent of the 646,964 votes cast in the Republican primary. Nikki Haley took 134,932 votes, or 20.86 percent. Ron DeSantis won 14,242 votes, or 2.2 percent. Chris Christie won 6,909 votes, or 1.07 percent and Vivek Ramaswamy took 5,673 votes, or 0.88 percent.

In Jefferson County, Biden won 7,582 votes, or 86.89 percent of the Democratic Party votes cast. Uncommitted delegates drew the next largest number of votes: 597 votes, or 6.84 percent, followed by Williamson’s 219 votes, or 2.51 percent, and Phillips’ won 160 votes, or 1.83 percent. There were 168 write-in votes. Total Democrat votes counted Tuesday were 8,726.

Trump took 2,460 votes, or 64.94 percent. Closest runner-up was Haley, with 1,152 votes, or 30.41 percent. She was followed by Christie’s 75 votes, or 1.98 percent; DeSantis’ 65 votes, or 1.72 percent; and Ramaswamy’s 15 votes, or 0.4 percent. Twenty-one voters wrote in their own choices. A total of 3,788 Republican votes were cast.

In Clallam County, after a second count of ballots on Wednesday, Biden won 8,594 votes, or 89 percent, and uncommitted delegates received 392 votes, or 4.06 percent. Phillips won 307 votes, or 3.18 percent, and Williamson won 241 votes, or 2.5 percent.

Trump took 7,723 votes, or 75.6 percent; while Haley took 2,100 votes, or 20.56 percent. DeSantis won 162 votes, or 1.59 percent; Christie won 107 votes, or 1.05 percent; and Ramaswamy took 80 votes, or 0.78 percent. Write-in votes numbered 43, or 0.42 percent.

Voters in both Jefferson and Clallam counties made better showings at the ballot boxes than voters did statewide, where the turnout was 28.34 percent.

Jefferson County reported a 45.46 percent voter turnout, with 12,517 ballots counted, and 398 ballots on hand.

Clallam County’s voter turnout was 34.77 percent, with 19,897 ballots counted out of 57,217 provided registered voters. On Wednesday, the auditor’s office had 4,000 ballots left to count.

Voters had to vote as Democrats or Republicans in the primary contest and could not vote for more than one candidate.

The Washington state Democratic convention will be June 22 in Bellevue. The Washington state Republican convention will be April 18-20 in Spokane.

Delegates to state conventions will nominate the party’s candidates for governor and other statewide offices, approve the state party’s official platform and conduct other party business.

The national Republican convention will be July 15-18 in Milwaukee.

The national Democratic convention will be on Aug. 19-22 in Chicago.

Washington state has 12 electoral votes.

The next counts of Washington presidential primary election ballots will be today statewide and in both Jefferson and Clallam counties. The election will be certified on March 22.

Additional information can be found at the Jefferson County Auditor’s website, co.jefferson.wa.us/1266/Elections or at 360-385-9117 and at the Clallam County Auditor’s website at https://www.clallamcountywa.gov/162/Elections-Voter-Registration or 360-417-2217.

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