Washington State Will Be Next Test of ‘Uncommitted’ Protest Against Biden


Washington State’s primary voters will offer the next glimpse of how many Democratic voters oppose President Biden’s policy toward Israel’s war in Gaza, though it may be days before a full picture of the results is clear.

The state’s primary on Tuesday comes after noteworthy numbers of Democratic voters in other states chose “uncommitted” in apparent protest of Mr. Biden’s position, including 13 percent in Michigan, 19 percent in Minnesota and 29 percent in the little-watched Democratic caucuses in Hawaii, where the antiwar advocacy groups that organized elsewhere did not have a presence.

Washington’s brand of anti-establishment Pacific Northwest liberalism has the potential to be a good fit for the “uncommitted” vote that has won increasing slices of the Democratic electorate in recent weeks.

And it is unlikely Mr. Biden’s forceful performance in his State of the Union address last week would have a strong impact on the results in Washington, which votes entirely by mail. More than 512,000 Democratic primary ballots had already been received by Thursday, when he delivered the speech, according to data from the Washington secretary of state’s office.

Stuart Holmes, the director of elections for the secretary of state, said to expect about half the state’s ballots to be counted and reported when polls close on Tuesday night. The rest of the ballots will be tabulated and reported once a day until all votes are counted, with the vast majority of the counting expected to be complete by the end of this week, Mr. Holmes said.

Shasti Conrad, the chairwoman of the Washington State Democrats, said the party would support Mr. Biden.

“We know President Biden and Vice President Harris are working tirelessly toward an end to the violence and a just, lasting peace in the Middle East,” Ms. Conrad said. “Voters in Washington understand the tremendous progress Democrats have made.”

“Uncommitted” backers have offered a low bar for success in each of the preceding states where they have been active.

Larry Cohen, the chairman of Our Revolution, the political organization begun by supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders that is backing “uncommitted,” put the goal for success in Washington State at 10 percent — far less than previous states but more than “uncommitted” received in 2020, when 6,450 people, about 0.4 percent of Democratic primary voters, chose “uncommitted.”

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