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by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Washington's Moment & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & ast year, there was a lot of discussion about when Washington should hold its presidential primary -- and whether it should be a primary or a caucus. Ultimately, state lawmakers moved it up in hopes that presidential contenders might actually stop by. And it seems possible -- likely, perhaps -- that at least one and maybe both parties will still be looking for their candidate after Super Tuesday on Feb. 5, when 22 states vote.





If that's the case, moving the Washington caucus to Feb. 9 looks like a stroke of genius, and we may yet see Hillary Clinton sipping a Starbucks or Mitt Romney passing through the Palouse. That is, if anybody can actually figure out how it works. Our lawmakers have created what has to be the most confusing primary in the nation. Yes, there's the caucus on Feb. 9 -- but there's an election, too, on Feb. 19. Democrats will allocate all their delegates based on the caucus, but Republicans will allocate half from the caucus and half from the primary. Confused?





Democrats, knowing their primary vote is meaningless, are free to vote for anyone they like in the primary, possibly throwing support to a GOP candidate the state's Republicans don't like. Hopefully that level of cynicism won't creep in, but the party bosses who devised this "system" have left that door open.





But none of that changes the fact that if you show up at your local precinct at 1 pm on Feb. 9, you can help choose our next president -- unless of course the media have crowned the nominees before then. The Democrats' precincts are listed on their Website (www.spokanedemocrats.org), and GOP precincts will also appear online starting Monday (www.spokanegop.com). Presidential primary ballots will go to every registered voter starting on Jan. 30 and must be postmarked by Feb. 19.





Turning Boise Blue


Idaho Democrats will get their chance to support a presidential candidate on Super Tuesday. (Republicans must wait until May 27.) Earlier this week, however, Barack Obama got a boost when Boise Mayor Dave Bieter (believe it or not, a Democrat) endorsed the Illinois senator. "He is the only candidate," Bieter said in a statement, "who inspires us to push for a future that fulfills the promise our country has always had but too often has failed to fulfill."
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