McCain wins in Pac. Co.

<I>JOSH HOLLAND photo</I><BR>Bill Nickila, center, pitches his choice for a Republican presidential candidate to other voters from his Pioneer Road precinct at Saturday's caucus at Long Beach School.

PENINSULA - Pacific County Republicans held presidential caucuses Saturday at Chauncey Davis Elementary School in South Bend and at Long Beach Elementary School, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee finishing a close second to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

The narrowness of the McCain-Huckabee contest statewide led Huckabee to delay conceding the race. Campaign lawyers are reportedly looking into some issues in the state, where the result was 26 percent of delegates for McCain to 24 percent for Huckabee.

A straw poll was taken among delegates to the Pacific County Republican Party Convention who were elected Saturday. John McCain received 29 percent; Mike Huckabee 24 percent, Ron Paul 10 percent, Mitt Romney 5 percent and 32 percent were "uncommitted." Eighty-two people attended the GOP caucus - 43 in Long Beach and 39 in South Bend.

Pacific County Republican Party Chair Nan Malin said Saturday's event "was the party's first experience with holding pooled community caucuses. The crowds at both locations were upbeat, enthusiastic and positive and attendance was far beyond any expectation we had."

The youngest Republican to caucus, Shawna Challis, 18, attended the Long Beach caucus and said she prefers the caucus system to primary ballots. "The people who actually follow the race and care show up to the caucus," she said. "In a primary I'm sure there are plenty of people who vote without really having a clue about anything."

Eighty-two delegates were elected to attend the county Republican Party Convention March 29 in Long Beach. In addition to electing delegates to the county convention, attendees met with their respective precincts to discuss issues important for the party's platform, Malin said. She welcomed attendees in Long Beach and reminded everyone that Republicans are voting for delegates to make decisions at the county convention where they will vote on delegates to the state convention. Presidential delegates are elected at the state convention in May.

Malin reminded voters to be sure to return their ballots by mail, "since 51 percent of the total delegate allocation comes from the primary ballot."

For more information, contact Malin at 360-642-2444 or 360-244-3294, (

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