Does the D.C. primary matter at all?
Yes, D.C. has a Republican primary. And Republicans.
The city that GOP candidates love to trash will award sixteen delegates next Tuesday on a winner-take-all basis.
Small change, for sure, but in the race to 1,144 delegates every little bit helps. D.C. allocates more delegates than three other states (Delaware, New Hampshire, and Vermont) and four territories.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is overwhelmingly favored among the 30,000 registered Republicans in the district.
At a D.C. GOP fundraising dinner this week, Romney won a straw poll with 72 percent of the vote. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich came in second, with 8.2 percent.
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum isn’t on the ballot, having failed to even contact the D.C. Board of Elections.
But Romney has sent staff to D.C. to help with get-out-the-vote, and there are robocalls out for Gingrich.
The D.C. Republican primary has never been very competitive. In 2008 D.C. held its primary on the same date as contests Maryland and Virginia, creating buzz for a “Potomac Primary.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won easily and turnout was up significantly — 5,873 voted, compared to 2,433 in 2000.
This year, Virginia broke ranks and chose to have its primary on the earliest possible date (March 6 aka Super Tuesday).
The Republican electorate in the District is more than a little different than in most of the other states that have voted to date. While Northeastern Republicans are traditionally more liberal on social issues, D.C.’s Republican party is particularly diverse in ideology, race and gender.
“We have a unique kind of Republican in D.C.,” said Mary Brooks Beatty, a Republican candidate for D.C. At-Large Council. “You’re all closer together, you need to get along.”
Of Romney, Marc Morgan, a former GOP City Council candidate said: “Where our local base aligns with the Romney campaign is mostly on fiscal issue. But when it comes to social issues, like LGBT issues, we seem to differ quite a bit.”