Hundreds of people showed up for the Washington state 2nd Legislative District Pierce County GOP caucus this morning. So much so, that after the 10 a.m. deadline to start the program had passed, 200 people were still waiting outside, with a total of around 800-900 caucus participants altogether.
You could feel the tension in the air from the start as the Republican nominee to go against President Obama was a sticky conversation to carry on. While standing in line, my intuition kicked in to mellow out when the debate I was in with an older gentleman about's foreign policy started getting out of hand.
The Ron Paul heated debate
My voice rose as I said, "No, you are misunderstanding it sir, Ron Paul's foreign policy is not against war, he is against these careless, endless wars -- he believes in building up our National Defense and protecting our own borders, not building embassies and bases all around the world and protecting theirs -- we are spending a kazillion dollars and printing money out of thin air to fight these wars -- people are still getting killed today in these wars that are not about fighting for freedom anymore!"
With sparks flying, the older gentleman in his late 70s got right up in my face and said, "We tried that in WWI and it didn't work, look what happened -- Ron Paul is a fool, he doesn't know what he is talking about!"
After a few more exchanges, realizing people had stopped and were watching us, finally I smiled and said, "Sir I respect your views and do not want to fight with you." The funny thing was, we had already duked it out! No other word was spoken between the two of us, and I did not see him again in the sea of people.
The Washington state 2nd Legislative caucus
Before the proceedings officially started, the gentleman with the mic said, "Lets all take a moment of silence for the two young Powell boys who died not too far from here and our fallen soldiers." The biggest roar from the crowd erupted when all the military vets and active duty personnel stood up for recognition.
Before voting, each candidate's surrogate went up to speak. It was obvious the Ron Paul troops were in the house. When Dr. Paul's representative, Ken Kady, stood up to give his pitch for the Texas congressman, all manner of shouting, whistling, hootin' and hollerin' broke out throughout Kady's speech. The other three had some random applause when their surrogate's stumped for, and , respectively.
I asked several people who they were voting for and why:
"Our favorite is Gingrich, but we voted for Santorum because we knew Newt was smeared too much so he wouldn't have a chance to win," Coral St. John replied. Clair St. John piped in with, "Romney can't take any criticism, but he can dish it out." The St. John's proudly shared that they were both over 80-years-old and were the only ones who showed up from precinct 21.
"We came to persuade our Precinct Community Officer (PCO) to vote for Ron Paul, but when we got here we found out he was already a Ron Paul supporter," announced Christopher Kinney with a huge smile, from precinct 24 who had five voters and all were unanimous for Ron Paul.
"I came out to convince people to vote for Mitt Romney, because he is the most prepared, he knows business and he understands the private sector," said Bryce Sheldon, a well-dressed preppy guy from precinct 36. Thirty-six won 4 votes for Santorum, 2 for Romney, 1 for both Gingrich and Paul.
"We're struggling because we don't agree, but we are both voting for Santorum because his ideas reflect our views," said Mr. and Mrs. Smallwood from Precinct 19 -- Mitt took 5, Rick 4, Ron and Newt both took 2 votes from that one.
Exit poll results
As things were winding down at Graham-Kapowsin High School, in Graham, Wash., I conducted my own exit poll. I asked 21 precincts for their results and frankly could not wait to get home and put it on a spreadsheet. I thought for sure Rick Santorum had the most votes, then Ron Paul, and just behind them would be Mitt Romney. I was wrong! Ron Paul took 61 votes, Mitt Romney 53, Rick Santorum 51 and Newt Gingrich 17. It will be interesting to see the official results with Paul, Romney and Santorum so close.
As I made my rounds from table to table, a gentleman stopped me, with a smirk on his face, he proudly stated, "I'm a Mormon and I'm a Ron Paul supporter." I chuckled and replied, "Well I guess you don't hear that everyday, now do you!"
Imagine America restored video here.
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