News Releases
Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 5, 2003
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gary Locke Praises Legislature’s Cancellation of Non-Binding Presidential Primary

Gov. Gary Locke today praised the Legislature’s passage of his bill to cancel the 2004 non-binding presidential primary.

“I am pleased the Legislature has passed my bill to cancel the 2004 non-binding presidential primary,” Locke said. I look forward to signing this common-sense legislation as soon as possible.”

“Canceling the non-binding presidential primary will save the taxpayers more than $6 million,” Locke said. “It makes no sense to spend taxpayer money on an election that serves no practical purpose. This money can instead be used to help fund essential programs such as education.”

The governor called the special session because the presidential primary election is not needed next year since neither party will use the results in nominating a presidential candidate in 2004. The Democratic Party chooses its candidates through party caucuses, and does not use the results of the primary. Republicans choose only a portion of its delegates through primaries, but the nomination of President Bush is a foregone conclusion.

Legislation is needed now because acting in January would not result in the same savings. County auditors would have to begin preparations for the primary before the Legislature meets in regular session. The auditors estimate that they would have to spend more than $2.4 million in preparations before January if the primary were not canceled now.

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Examples of how $6 million can
benefit Washington state citizens:

· Basic Health Plan medical insurance for 2,748 low-income citizens.

· Food, housing and care for 576 developmentally disabled adults for one year at state-licensed Adult Family Homes.

· The state’s share of the cost of educating 1,428 Washington public school students.

· The state’s share of the cost of educating 690 resident undergraduates at the University of Washington.

· 72 Washington State Troopers on Washington Highways.

· Confinement of 240 inmates in Washington state prisons.

· Interest payments supporting $84 million for badly needed school construction and the creation of hundreds of construction-related jobs.

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