Bustling caucus sites in Washington state

Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 26, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the Democratic presidential nominating contests Saturday in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state.

3:45 p.m.

In Spokane, Washington, a huge line of people snaked around the parking lot of Ferris High School for Saturday's Democratic presidential caucuses.

Sixty-four-year-old Dan McLay showed up in a hard hat and joked that he needed it because he's a Hillary Clinton supporter in a crowd of Bernie Sanders fans.

McLay calls the Democratic front-runner a "comprehensive progressive" who's "sharp on all the issues" and has the experience to deal with danger like the bombings in Brussels.

Besides, he says he's wanted a woman as president since the 1960s.

But McLay acknowledges Sanders is a magnet for young people.

One of them, 25-year-old Jennifer Slaughter, a flute player for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, showed up to caucus for Sanders. She says he holds consistent views and would take the big money out of politics.
3:40 p.m.

In Seattle, Iraq veteran Preston Anderson joined a steady stream of people at a Democratic caucus site and explained why he showed up to support Bernie Sanders. Anderson served in Iraq for 11 months as an Army sergeant and now works at Seattle's veterans' hospital.

He sees Hillary Clinton as a hawkish politician who helped rush the country into the Iraq war. Anderson prefers Sanders for wanting a more measured response before going to war. Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq war in 2002 when she was in the Senate.

People coming to the caucus in Seattle's Central District neighborhood were greeted mostly by Sanders organizers and by the socialist councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who is also supporting him.

Also at the site, 19-year-old Sarah Blazevic came out for Sanders. She's a university student home for the Easter break and likes his proposal for free college. Blazevic also finds Sanders more authentic than Clinton, though she adds she'll vote for whoever becomes the Democratic nominee.
   3:30 p.m.

In Olympia, Washington, 61-year-old Laura Schleyer wore home-made "Unidos con Bernie" ears -- meaning united with Bernie -- at a bustling Democratic caucus site where the crowd was so large some had to be moved from an elementary school cafeteria to the gym.

The substitute teacher and Bernie Sanders supporter says she loves the vibrant debate at caucuses. As she put it: "It to me is about the only democratic thing we have left. I love being in a room with people that are my neighbors, that I care about, that are caring about something. And we're here together."
3 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is pushing for a trifecta of wins in Democratic presidential caucuses in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington state. He's hoping to stage a spring comeback against the commanding front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont senator has spent much of the week on the West Coast, trying to build his enduring support among liberal activists into a sweep Saturday. That could help him narrow a gap of 300 delegates won in primaries behind Clinton.

According to an Associated Press analysis, Sanders would need to get more than 67 percent of the total remaining delegates won in the primaries and uncommitted superdelegates to take the nomination.

While Sanders faces a steep climb to the nomination, a string of losses for Clinton in the latest voting would highlight her persistent vulnerabilities.