2008 Re: Primary Pushing
posted by February 12 at 11:34 AMon
I made some calls and sent some emails to prominent local Clinton supporters about this rumor that the Clinton campaign is encouraging Washingtonians to vote in the Feb. 19 primary—in the hopes that it will become a counterweight to Obama’s big Feb. 9 caucus win here.
Turning weirdo Washington State into a demonstration project for the way that caucuses tend to favor Obama and primaries tend to favor Clinton could be a smart move for the Clinton camp. (And, as suggested below, a Clinton primary win here could give her Washington superdelegates some cover.)
One of the calls I made was to Linda Mitchell, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington and a member of Hillary Clinton’s Washington campaign committee. I asked her if she’d been hearing about Clinton people encouraging Washingtonians to vote in the primary, even though the primary won’t be used to apportion any Democratic delegates. Mitchell replied:
Am I hearing it? I’m feeding it. As the president of the Women’s Political Caucus, and as a supporter of Hillary Clinton, I think that the caucuses are not very representative of the voting public and I’m hoping that the primary does show greater support for Hillary Clinton.
Mitchell said informal discussions among local Clinton campaign committee members have produced some agreement that it would be smart to push for a Clinton win in the Washington primary. But she added that she’s not speaking for the national Clinton campaign on this.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a strategy,” Mitchell told me. “There may be. It would be great if everybody voted in the primary and Hillary showed a win there. But I don’t want to say I’m speaking for the national campaign.”
She said she hopes to use the campaign committee’s email lists, and her network of contacts, to encourage votes for Clinton in the primary, but that there’s no money for robocalls or a more formal effort. “It’ll be more of a viral, tell your friends kind of thing,” Mitchell said.
Clinton’s Washington campaign committee will be meeting this afternoon, and Mitchell said they’ll be having more discussions about the primary effort then.
UPDATE: Ben Smith gets an official Clinton campaign reaction to this: “Not a campaign effort.”