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Washington Democrats Aim To Avoid Nevada-Like Meltdown At State Convention

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Tiffany Von Arnim
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Flickr - tinyurl.com/gr3vxxm
File photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle on August 8, 2015.

Washington state Democrats are confident they will avoid a Nevada-like meltdown at their state convention this weekend. Nevada’s Democratic convention devolved into chaos after Bernie Sanders supporters felt the process was rigged.

Sarajane Siegfriedt, a Sanders delegate and member of the party platform committee, doesn’t want a repeat of Nevada this weekend in Tacoma. She’s concerned the strict parliamentary rules of the convention could feel like a hammer to some newer, younger convention-goers.

“Depending upon who the chair is and how they wield it, you can be ruled out of order every time you stand up,” Siegfriedt said. “And you’ll just think ‘I’m being suppressed, I’m being muzzled, this is ridiculous’ and then you start doing other things.”

Siegfriedt is hopeful that won’t happen. For one, a Sanders supporter is likely to chair the convention. Also, the number of delegates Sanders and Hillary Clinton each get is not up for debate at this convention, as it was in Nevada.

Even so, on Facebook Siegfriedt urged her fellow Sanders supporters to “talk issues instead of personalities” this weekend.

Washington state will send 101 pledged delegates to the national Democratic convention in Philadelphia in July. Seventy-four of them will be pledged to Bernie Sanders, 27 for Hillary Clinton.

In addition, Washington will send 17 so-called super delegates--mostly party leaders and elected officials -- who are not bound to any one candidate. However, many of those super delegates previously told the Associated Press they will support Clinton at the convention.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."