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Yakima County Democrats back John Kerry for President

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Senator John Kerry, pictured at a rally in New Hampshire, is the front runner in Washington state following Saturday's statewide Democratic precinct caucuses. Kerry supporters will send more than 240 delegates to the upcoming Yakima County convention, which will take place in April.

More than 750 Yakima County Democrats took part in Saturday's statewide precinct caucuses, taking time to voice their opinions on who the Democratic presidential nominee should be in 2004.

According to Paul George of the Yakima County Democratic Central Committee, at the end of the day Saturday local Democrats favored John Kerry by a 2-to-1 margin. Kerry supporters will send 245 delegates to the Yakima County Convention in Yakima April 24. Howard Dean supporters will send 123.

George said Kerry received 419 votes, Dean recieved 178 and John Edwards was a distant third with 65 votes and 32 delegates to the county convention.

Precinct caucuses are the first step in selecting a presidential nominee. The caucuses, which took place at 10 sites from Grandview to Cowiche, offered people a chance to discuss who they would like to back for president. Those taking part in the caucuses simply had to sign in at the door to one of the local sites and acknowledge they are both a registered voter and a Democrat.

Once everyone was signed in, representatives from each of the precincts within a certain area met at the caucus, discussed the issues and then broke up into their individual precinct groups. The precinct groups then selected their delegates who will represent the precinct and the candidate they support at the Yakima County Convention.

A total of 752 Democrats signed in at the 10 sites. The three Yakima sites accounted for 509 of the total votes, with the remaining 243 votes coming from sites such as St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Sunnyside and Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Grandview. Both churches served as caucus sites Saturday.

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