The Washington State Democratic Convention entered its final day Sunday, with party members choosing the remaining delegates who will represent Washington at next month’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
State party members met Sunday to elect 34 delegates to the national convention, after the state’s other 67 delegates were chosen at earlier congressional district caucuses.
All of those delegates will be bound to vote for presidential candidates based on the results of Washington’s precinct caucuses, which Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won overwhelmingly in March.
Some of those competing to become delegates Sunday urged party members to join together to defeat presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, criticizing the businessman’s policies as divisive and detrimental to the nation’s future.
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“It’s been an emotional primary, but whether you’re a Sanders supporter or a Clinton supporter, we’ve got a bigger problem now,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, a Clinton ally, in his successful pitch to become a national delegate.
A similar entreaty by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, the state convention’s keynote speaker, was met with a mixture of boos and cheers on Saturday, the main day of the convention. That day, hundreds of Democratic delegates approved a new party platform and approved a symbolic resolution declaring the state Democratic Party’s support for Sanders.
Fewer people attended the final day of the convention.
Twelve of the delegates selected Sunday were chosen from a pool of local party leaders and elected officials, while the other 22 were at-large delegate seats open to all Democrats throughout the state.
Some people competing to become delegates for Sanders said they think his policies have already changed the direction of the Democratic Party, and his large number of supporters at the national convention will ensure that process continues.
“He developed Hillary’s platform,” said Robert Fuentes, a Sanders supporter from West Seattle.
Sanders, an independent who has billed himself as a Democratic socialist, has railed against what he calls an economy rigged against the poor and middle class and the influence of money in politics, among other issues.
“I think Bernie has elevated a lot of issues of concern,” said Carin Chase, a Sanders supporter from Edmonds. “That is one thing I’m really proud of.”
Based on the results of the March precinct caucuses, most of Washington’s 101 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention will go to Sanders.
The Vermont senator will receive 74 of Washington’s national delegates, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will receive 27.
At the national convention, Washington will also have 17 unpledged delegates, also known as superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials who can support any candidate. Most of the state’s superdelegates, including Gov. Jay Inslee and the state’s Democratic members of Congress, have indicated they’ll support Clinton in July.
Republicans held their state convention last month in Pasco, where party members chose 41 delegates to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Most of the Republican delegates chosen at Washington’s convention were supporters of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, not Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.