The Island Guardain
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360-378-4900 - PO Box 38, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
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The idea of caucuses dates as far back as the Roman Empire. Caucuses were an important part of the American way of life from the beginnings of our republic. In the 1770s the village church was the center of political caucuses where people met after church services to discuss the politics of the day.

Webster’s Dictionary defines caucus this way:


 cau·​cus ˈkȯ-kəs 

 Synonyms of caucus
 a meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy a presidential caucus

 also: a group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause

Caucuses are run by a political party or interest group. Nowadays only a few states in the USA hold caucuses. Most have a presidential primary vote managed by the government instead. Caucus states include: Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota and Washington and the most famous caucus state - Iowa. In Washington as well as some other states we have both a caucus and a presidential primary. 

Caucuses are usually held only in Presidential election years. A caucus is usually held at the precinct level. A caucus can be held in private homes, or pooled caucuses (a gathering of more than one precinct) can be held in a larger meeting room.


In these days when many people feel disaffected and unattached to a set of political, or religious beliefs, the caucus offer opportunity to hear and share ideas about what direction the county, state and nation should go. A caucus is important because it is the best opportunity for all citizens to have a say in the platform and issues of their political party as well as the choice of a presidential candidate. In the caucus, those of us who haven’t taken time to be involved in politics can have a vote and a say. It is the only time where political leaders can get a snapshot of voter’s opinions and their preference for the Presidential candidate. 

Another purpose of the caucus is to elect delegates to attend the county convention. At the county convention the political party platform is voted on and amended; and delegates to the state party are elected. Delegates to the county and state conventions are often elected according to their presidential primary preference.

In order to participate in a caucus you must be a registered voter, and resident of the county as well as the political or interest group sponsoring the caucus.

The Democrat Party will not hold a caucus this year. According to David Tournoy, Chair of the San Juan County Democrat Party, the decision of presidential preference and platform will be made at the WA State Legislative District level.

The San Juan County Republican Party Will Caucus on Saturday, January 13, 2024 at 9:30 AM.
On San Juan Island the caucus will be held at the Grange building on 2nd Street
On Orcas Island the caucus will be at the American Legion.
On Lopez Island the caucus will be held at a private home.