In a not-all-that-unexpected move, the Washington state Democratic Party voted this past weekend at its state central committee meeting to select and allocated delegates to the 2016 national convention through a caucuses/convention system. The party had already telegraphed the move with the earlier release of its draft 2016 delegate selection plan. With Washington Democrats set to hold caucuses in 2016, it does seemingly spell doom for legislation that has been working its way through the Washington state legislature this winter/spring. As it stands now, state law calls for a Washington presidential primary in May of any presidential election year. However, legislation (SB 5978) that has already passed the Republican-controlled state Senate in Washington calls not only for moving the date up to March, but also for the state parties to allocate some of their delegates based on the results of the primary election. Without buy-in from both parties, the primary would still be held but with all candidates from both parties listed together on the primary ballot.
With state Democrats shunning the presidential primary, the latter option would be the only available option for both parties. That would likely push Republicans to a caucuses/convention system as well and leave a high price tag on a meaningless beauty contest for the state.
That writing now appears to be on the wall and state legislators have responded. In a public hearing on the by Senate-passed bill this morning — Monday, April 20 — the House Committee on Appropriations introduced an amendment to require the parties to allocate at least 75% of their delegates via the primary. But if both parties did not opt into a the primary under those criteria, then the primary would be cancelled.