Romney wins caucus in Kirkland, statewide

David and Gay Holmes, who are precinct committee officers, tally votes during the caucus at Robert Frost Elementary on Saturday.  - Rachael Harris/For the Reporter
David and Gay Holmes, who are precinct committee officers, tally votes during the caucus at Robert Frost Elementary on Saturday.
— image credit: Rachael Harris/For the Reporter

The 45th Legislative District has spoken. Loudly.

On Saturday, voters overwhelmed precinct caucuses around the district, and the state, to voice their preferences for the GOP primary candidate.

Mitt Romney won the 45th District’s delegate, who represents voters from parts of Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Duvall, and Carnation.

Romney also won the majority statewide with 37.6 percent of the votes.

Unlike the 2008 election, when McCain proved the GOP favorite early on, the 2012 candidacy has been a race to the last hour.

This competition was powered by eager voters at Robert Frost Elementary School, where 11 precincts tallied 66 votes for Romney, 19 for Rick Santorum, 16 for Ron Paul, 14 for Newt Gingrich, and 5 undecided.

Kirkland City Councilman Toby Nixon acted as the pool chairman for the precincts at Robert Frost, and as a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO).

Nixon’s precinct cast 26 votes, with Romney taking half. The remaining 13 votes were split among the three remaining candidates and undecided voters.

Also favoring Romney were David and Gay Holmes, PCO’s for Precinct 45-3450.

“I think Romney’s got the best chance of winning the general election,” Gay Holmes said. “I would be happy to support the others, but it’s important to support a candidate who can bring in a victory.”

David Holmes cited the economy as the biggest issue in this election.

“Romney has a better chance of turning the economy around,” he said. “Also, I know that he’s really strong on immigration. He’ll secure our borders.”

Dave Griffin’s precinct, 24-89, favored Paul, though Griffin voted for Santorum.

“People like Paul because he has a compelling vision, and connects well with Washingtonians,” Griffin said.

Griffin originally supported Michele Bachmann, but when she dropped out of the race, he transferred his bid to the candidate with the most similar values.

“We need to be focused on principles, not bi-partisan politics,” he said. “Santorum is fiscally responsible, has a family message, and will bring more jobs.”

While the splintered opinions of GOP voters may indicate a lack of excitement for a single candidate, the number of voters present on Saturday proves otherwise for the Republican Party.

“It’s always hard to know how many voters to expect,” Nixon said.

The goal for Nixon’s pool was to accrue 10 votes per precinct, with the number of registered voters per precinct ranging from three to 600.

120 people voted at Robert Frost, averaging nearly 11 votes per precinct represented, surpassing the goal, though the actual number of votes per precinct ranged from three to 26.

“Four years ago, all the candidates dropped out and it was just McCain, so people thought, ‘What’s the use?’” Nixon said. “Now, there are still four very active candidates.”

Saturday, the gym at Robert Frost was filled for almost an hour and a half, and the air was humming with discussion and possibilitiesThe same was true across the district, in homes, churches, and community buildings.

Mike Nykreim, pool chairman for 13 precincts at Kirkland Congregational Church, said the voter turnout was overwhelming.

His involvement with precinct caucuses has spanned 33 years, and this year’s election prompted the largest voter response he has seen.

“Everyone is stepping up,” he said. “People are fired up, and they definitely want a different president.”


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