Thirty-five protesters confronted Gov. Jay Inslee outside a Bellingham fundraiser on Monday, April 25, in response to the governor’s pledge to support democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The 35 protesters assembled in front of the Squalicum Boathouse in Zuanich Point Park where a private fundraiser was being held. Inslee spoke to the protesters before entering the event.
As a Democratic Party superdelegate, Inslee will get to cast a vote for the party’s presidential nominee at the nominating convention in July. Ten out of Washington state’s 17 superdelegates have pledged their support for Clinton. None have said they are supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“[Inslee’s] complaining this election cycle that he’s having a hard time raising money. Well I guarantee, if he’d go and support [Sanders], we’d start donating to him.”
Protester Jim Peterson
Clinton’s opponent, Sanders, won the Washington democratic caucus with 72.7 percent of the vote.
At the protest, Inslee pointed to his 25-year history of working with Clinton and promised to support whoever the eventual democratic nominee is.
“I’ve worked with her on gun safety issues, which is important to a lot of people,” Inslee said. “I’ve worked with her on climate change issues. So I’ve endorsed her.”
Western alumna Andrea Lawson, who has been a Sanders volunteer since last July, was unimpressed by what the governor had to say.
“Sure, he respects us and appreciates us being here, but not enough to speak candidly and speak to our specific comments,” Lawson said.
The protesters said that they may not support Inslee in future if he doesn’t change his superdelegate vote.
“It’s pretty upsetting, because I campaigned, phone-banked and voted for [Inslee] and all of the other Washington superdelegates,” Bellingham resident Sarah Neugebauer said. “I feel really betrayed by their group endorsement of [Clinton].”
Mike Lapointe was at the event and is currently running for Congress in Washington’s second Congressional District, which Bellingham is a part of.
“The fact is, that the overwhelming majority in Washington state voted for [Sanders],” Lapointe said. “As an elected official, [Inslee] should represent the interests of the people.”
President of the Bellingham City Council Pinky Vargas attended the fundraiser and was sympathetic to Inslee.
“I feel really betrayed by their group endorsement of [Clinton].”
Bellingham resident Sarah Neugebauer
“It would be really hard for me not to support somebody that I’ve worked with,” Vargas said. ”If I have a consistent record with someone who has been reliable and responsible, it would be pretty hard for me to change my personal view.”
Inslee walked into the fundraiser as protesters chanted “change your vote,” urging him to support Sanders rather than Clinton. Some protesters surrounded the boathouse and held their signs against the windows.
“[Inslee’s] complaining this election cycle that he’s having a hard time raising money,” protester Jim Peterson remarked. “Well I guarantee, if he’d go and support [Sanders], we’d start donating to him.”
There are about 712 superdelegates in the democratic party, according to the Seattle Times. According to the Associated Press, 516 superdelegates have declared their support for Clinton and 39 have backed Sanders.