SPOKANE — Hundreds of Washington Republicans will arrive in Spokane this week with their party's presidential candidate all but chosen. Arizona Sen. John McCain has only to await the national convention in September, where he's assured of enough delegates to become the official nominee.
But a substantial portion of the delegates to the Washington state convention perhaps as many as 40 percent, according to some estimates will be backing another candidate and looking to make their preference known at that national gathering.
Supporters of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas, who is still nominally in the race, will control enough votes to claim delegates to the national nominating convention and perhaps make changes in the state platform.
In pockets around the state, Paul's supporters, some of whom are political novices, worked the arcane caucus system hard enough to control county conventions and legislative district meetings. Nowhere was that more evident than in Spokane County, which will send 114 delegates to the state convention. Of those, 106 are Paul supporters.