- It’s the year 2016 and we have smart phones, websites, calendars, jobs and families. Please don’t assume that we have nothing else to do. Time is valuable, so is communication.
- If you’re George Clooney you MAY be recognizable to a large group of people; but if not, you might want to tell people your name. Please don’t assume that people know who the candidates are. It’s common courtesy in a meeting format to either introduce yourself by name or have someone do it for you.
- If you take the time to set up a meeting, you should provide as much information as possible as soon as possible if you want as many people as possible to attend.
This is the first time I’ve attended a dinner or meeting for the Eastside Republican Party; however I’m sensing a theme after attending the District and Regional Caucuses for the party. My overall impression is that the GOP on the Eastside:
- Assumes that people already know all the candidates (including names, districts, precincts, etc.
- Assumes that people have a wide open calendar for attending meetings on short notice
- Assumes that people have a grasp of all the intricacies of the political process.
Is that harsh? Maybe. But after several attempts to look up things on websites, contact people about meetings or activities happening or sitting in meetings and having no idea who(m) I was listening to; I think it’s a fitting impression.
My evidence to this is following.
Our District Caucus (48th) for the 2016 Presidential Election year was held February 20th. In January, I asked my friend who attended 4 years ago if she had heard when the date was. We both tried to look it up online for several weeks; and finally she found a brief mention of it on the King County GOP website about the middle of January. No mention of time or location was given. We both put the date in on our calendar and kept checking for more details as the date drew closer.
I sent an email to the webmaster noting that I’d had a very difficult time finding ANY information about the caucus. I received an email from the webmaster noting that he’d place a link for specific district locations on the website. By that point, my friend contacted someone she knew so we had time, location and a bit more general information. (I checked the site today and there is no link, but it may have been removed because it’s after the fact).
For someone who is busy, or someone who needs to arrange transportation or someone who doesn’t want to sit all day in a VFW Hall or the parking lot of same, the lack of information would be troubling. For someone who is fairly OCD (okay REALLY OCD) about their calendar, it bordered on anxiety.
We arrived early and as we had offered to help set-up, we began doing that. There was a lot of confusion about how people would be registered. Did they need ID AND their voter card? What if they didn’t HAVE a voter ID card? What about people who weren’t registered voters? And the press? There seemed to be no clear ‘leader’ but eventually some sort of agreement was made. In the end, business was conducted fairly quickly and we were out of there in time for the other event we were both scheduled to attend.
Turnout was EXTREMELY low. There could be a number of reasons for this; 4 years ago there was Romney and the Mormon/LDS community was out in force to get him elected. This election there were no clear candidates, and frankly, Conservatives in a Liberal state are sucking air for presidential elections anyway.
As I signed up to be an alternative delegate for the Regional GOP Caucus in March, I expected to get more information about time and location within a couple of days. Again with the OCD Calendar Anxiety mentality. The Caucus was scheduled for Saturday, March 19th in Bellevue. Again, no specific time or location was listed. On March 7th, I sent an email to Cynthia Cole asking for specifics. She told me “KCGOP sends out the information 10 days prior to the caucus, so our info will be sent out on the 9th. There are 4 caucuses this coming Saturday, so the KCGOP staff has their hands full.” The notices are sent out so late because all the delegates had to be checked first.
**SNARK ALERT** I’m sorry that the KCGOP was so busy that they couldn’t let me know more than 10 days in advance of the event; after all, I’m just waiting around with nothing to do except check my email for the chance to be a delegate. It’s not like I had an afternoon event that same day or anything! Note to self, next time I won’t agree to be a delegate, although as there were only 4 of us from our precinct in attendance, there weren’t many others to take the spot. (Side note, the other gentleman that agreed to be a delegate did NOT SHOW UP at the March 19th event. Apparently he wasn’t waiting by his email either…)
So I go to the Regional caucus and walk into the foyer of Interlake High School. There are no signs directing me where I should go, it’s early in the morning and it’s a big school. I follow the voices around a corner and find about 10 people standing around some tables. I walk up to one of the tables, give her my name and she directs me to another table to my right. There are no signs on ANY OF THESE tables, but I move to that table and give him my name. He asks if I’ve checked in yet (Gee, Wally, I thought that was what I was DOING) and sends me to another set of tables. All of these tables within 20 feet of each other.
Finally, I get my name checked off, my name tag, my sticker(s) and go stand in line. There are actual people standing guard at the doors to the gym so that no one can sneak in. While waiting, I had PLENTY of time to look at the photos of athletes from Interlake. John Olerud graduated from Interlake, by the way.
I sit on the hard bleacher seats for quite a while. Fortunately, I sat next to this nice young man who introduces me to the wonder of Twitter.
(Point one: Yes, I realize I sound like an old woman when I say ‘nice young man’. Point two: My youngest son rolled his eyes when I said I joined Twitter and then ‘banned’ me from Instagram and Snapchat. Neener-neener.)
After my Twitter class, the actual caucusing starts, except, well it doesn’t because they’re not sure if they are going to let the candidates (for state offices) talk about themselves or not. Finally they decide and then jump right into the caucusing. After 20 minutes of rules. (If I’d had Wi-Fi I’d have downloaded the Twitter app on the spot and started tweeting immediately).
So, out of the delegates there, we have to vote in the actual representative delegates. There are all of these names on the list and each delegate gets to talk for 2 minutes about who they are, what district they’re from and who their candidate is. At this point, only Ben Carson has abandoned his run for president, so my method of voting is ANYONE WHO ISN’T SUPPORTING TRUMP. Highly selective, I know. We are reminded several times that we can only vote for a certain # of delegates, we can only hand our codex sheets into a member, no mistakes, blah, blah, blah. I need to leave, so I missed the 2nd vote.
So, back to this dinner for the Eastside Republican Party on June 7th. I found out about it from the “Meetup” app (not a dating site). I marked it on my calendar, RSVP’d that I’d be attending, showed up and there are two tables. One with name badges and one with a man and a list. I walk up to the man with the list, give him my name and he tells me I’m not on the list. He writes my name down, takes my $20 (for dinner), then tells me to get dinner and find a seat. Here’s where my impression of the GOP was confirmed. I sit at a table covered in political brochures. Some people have pre-printed badges with their names, others like me are hand-written. I smile and say hello to my table mates, who return my greeting then return to talking to each other. Apparently they all know each other.
The meeting starts with a prayer and pledge to the American flag. It was an ACTUAL prayer, to GOD (not little “g”). The MC drops some statistics and then brings up the first speaker. I met Ramiro Valderama a few days before the meeting through a mutual friend. I found Mr. Valderama engaging, knowledgeable, down to earth and willing to listen. His speech at the dinner was much of the same information we discussed; however, he like all of the other candidates that spoke did not introduce himself or the position he is running for.
I took notes from the evening (I left early as I had a catering event to prepare for); NONE of the candidates that spoke introduced themselves, nor were they introduced by the MC. (The MC didn’t introduce herself either so I have no idea who she is). The MC even asked how many new attendees were there that evening; there were about 5 of us that raised our hands.
I asked a few table mates, read some of the brochures on the table and looked up some names during my note taking. But honestly, it shouldn’t be that difficult to introduce yourself if you’re speaking to a crowd. It’s not an assumption that they ALREADY KNOW who you are.
As far as I can tell, the people who spoke that evening were:
Ramiro Valderama; running against Andy Hill for State Representative
Scott Nazarino running against Patty Murray for US Senate
Doug Basler, running against Adam Smith for District 9 Representative
Chad Magendanz; running for Senate Seat #5, Legislative District (currently empty seat).
Erin Aboudara running for 11th seat State Legislative District.
Marty McClendon running for Lt. Governor.
Bill Bryant (represented by someone in the audience) running against Jay Inslee for State Governor
I did not attend the King County Convention or the Washington State Convention due to previous conflicts (and the price to be honest). But I can only suppose they were held with as little organization, advance notice and information as the caucuses.
Don’t even get me started on being asked to be on the committee to vet candidates…
GOP Candidates for Washington State Office, Congress and US Senate
GOP Candidates for Washington State Senate
GOP Candidates for Washington State House
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