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2020 Democratic frontrunners turn focus to Washington state

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. (Getty Images)

A move to make Washington state more relevant in the presidential primaries may already be yielding results, with a pair of 2020 Democratic candidates already turning their focus to the Pacific Northwest.

Washington state angles for relevance in 2020 presidential election

In 2019, lawmakers moved Washington’s primary date from May to March 10, vaulting it ahead of 16 scheduled primaries in 2020 and only one week following Super Tuesday. Now, both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are mounting their early campaigns in Washington.

We first saw this in December, when Warren opened a pair of campaign offices in Seattle, hiring eight senior aides along with 30 paid staff members. At the time, she was the only Democrat with a fully-staffed campaign in Washington. Less than a month later, Bernie Sanders is following suit, while bringing some familiar local progressives on board to boot.

Joining the campaign as the state’s Field Director is local activist Shaun Scott, fresh off of a hotly-contested Seattle City Council race where he fell short by just under 1,400 votes.  Additionally, Edmonds School Board member Carin Chase will serve as the director for Sanders’ 2020 campaign in the state.

Sanders’ Washington state campaign will officially launch with a “Primary Countdown Celebration” set for Thursday, Jan. 9 at Seattle’s Washington Hall.

Washington Dems to use results of presidential primary

“We look forward to working with our grassroots support across Washington to build an unprecedented campaign that will help Bernie Sanders win the Democratic Nomination and defeat Donald Trump,” Chase said in a news release.

The state’s Democratic Party also recently ended its use of caucuses to allocate delegates to candidates, instead opting for a straight primary vote in 2020. According to data collected by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the 2016 election saw markedly lower turnouts for states that caucused, versus states that held a simple primary vote. More specifically, the top 20 states with the best voter turnout were all primary states.

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