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Washington Cancels Presidential Primary

December 6, 2003

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ Washington on Friday became the seventh state to cancel its 2004 presidential primary, opting to save at least $6 million by skipping an election many say would be meaningless.

Democratic Gov. Gary Locke proposed the one-time-only cancellation of the presidential primary, saying Republicans already have their nominee and that Democrats had decided to use Iowa-style caucuses, rather than the primary, to allocate delegates.

``It’s senseless to waste taxpayer money on an election that serves no practical purpose,″ the governor said Friday, adding that it would be ``wasteful, irresponsible and indefensible″ to keep the primary alive in 2004.

The state House on Friday overwhelmingly approved the measure canceling the primary. The Senate also passed the bill, but by a closer margin.

Republican opponents said the bill eliminates a popular election that involves far more voters than the obscure caucus process that will be used instead.

Other states that have canceled their 2004 presidential primaries are Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, North Dakota and Utah. Legislators in Arizona and Missouri voted to call off their primaries, but Democratic governors vetoed the bills.

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