Trump clinches GOP nomination with WA presidential primary

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump easily won Washington’s low-drama presidential primary on Tuesday, cementing a November general election rematch.

In vote counts released Tuesday night, Biden received about 86% support in the Democratic primary, while Trump won about 74% of the Republican primary vote. The Associated Press called the races just after 8 p.m.

Washington’s results clinched the GOP nomination for Trump after he also won primaries earlier in the day in Georgia and Mississippi. Biden clinched the Democratic nomination after Georgia’s vote.

An “uncommitted” protest vote among Washington Democrats — aimed at pressuring Biden to more forcefully seek a cease-fire in the war in Gaza — received more than 7% support in the Democratic primary.

While the outcome was not in doubt, the final vote totals and turnout figures for Washington’s primary won’t be known until thousands of later-arriving ballots are counted over the coming week or so.

Two other longshot Democrats also appeared on the Washington ballot; self-help author Marianne Williamson and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minnesota. Phillips ended his campaign last week, endorsing Biden. Williamson announced her exit last month, but then unsuspended it a few weeks later.

Among Republicans, Trump appeared on the ballot with four rivals who had already ended their campaigns. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, his last-standing opponent who ended her campaign last week, took nearly 22% of Tuesday’s vote.

Voters in the primary were allowed to participate in either the Democratic or the Republican contest — but not both.

Unlike every other election in the state, the presidential primary required voters to pick a party preference, signing a partisan declaration on the ballot envelope and pledging not to participate in any other party nominating contest.

The controversial requirement has consistently irked many voters, leading them to refuse to sign and spoil their ballots. As of Tuesday, more than 53,000 had their ballots challenged for declining to sign the partisan pledges.

Tuesday’s vote included only the presidential primary. The primary for state offices, including governor, is Aug. 6.

The GOP results in Washington gave Trump the state’s 43 pledged delegates to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee this summer, pushing him past the 1,215-delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination.

Biden on Tuesday surpassed the 1,968 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination and was on track to secure the vast bulk if not all of Washington’s 92 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

But the “uncommitted” campaign could still nab a few delegates if it surpasses 15% statewide or in one of the state’s congressional districts. In King County, more than 10% of Democratic voters had cast uncommitted votes as of Tuesday.

Rami Al-Kabra, the Bothell deputy mayor who helped lead the uncommitted effort, noted later votes often trend more progressive. “I am feeling very hopeful and very excited,” he said in an interview. “By Friday we will know for sure how we are doing.”

As of Tuesday’s vote count, fewer than 30% of Washington voters had returned ballots. A spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office estimated turnout would land at around 40% to 45% once all ballots are counted. Turnout in 2020s presidential primary was 50%.

2024 WA Election | Local Politics

The looming Biden-Trump rematch will reverberate down the ballot in Washington.

In Washington’s gubernatorial race, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the leading Democrat looking to succeed Gov. Jay Inslee, has hammered his likely rival, former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, over his refusal to say whether he’ll back Trump this fall.

Ferguson mocked Reichert on the social media platform X on Tuesday.

“He ducks. He dodges. He will not stand up to Trump, and will not stand up for Washingtonians,” wrote Ferguson, who confirmed in a text message he had voted for Biden.

Reichert, in a statement, did not say whether he supports Trump and called Ferguson’s efforts to nationalize the race a distraction and fear mongering.

“This race is about what really matters to the people of Washington state —rising crime, homelessness, gas prices, taxes, education,” he said.

Reichert has criticized Trump in the past, declining to endorse him in 2016. The former King County sheriff suggested in 2017 he might have arrested Trump over his lewd comments about grabbing women described in infamous “Access Hollywood” tapes, if it had occurred in his jurisdiction while a cop.

The Trump era has been a disaster electorally for Republicans in state races, leaving the GOP holding zero statewide offices and remaining in the minority in the state House and Senate.

Trump received just 39% of the vote here in 2020 and 38% in 2016.

In a statement Tuesday night, Shasti Conrad, the state Democratic Party Chair, looked forward to the choice facing voters in November. “This is a battle for the soul of our nation and we are full steam ahead toward November and Democratic victories up and down the ballot,” she said.

Trump released a video Tuesday night after Washington’s results, boasting “this one got us over the top,” and attacking Biden as “the worst president in the history of our country.”

Biden warned in a statement earlier Tuesday that freedom and democracy are at risk, at a time when “the threat Trump poses is greater than ever.”

“Voters now have a choice to make about the future of this country,” he wrote.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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