A standing-room only crowd of Republican voters gathered at the post in Redmond on Saturday to select delegates for the King County GOP convention and cast their vote for president in the straw poll.
Approximately 300 participants broke into 52 precincts, most containing 6-10 people. ( to see a replay of our live blog from the event.)
An unofficial tally showed Mitt Romney with 133 votes, followed by Ron Paul with 109, Rick Santorum 45, Newt Gingrich 21, six undecided and one write-in vote for the Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert.
Romney later declared victory in Washington state, after obtaining an early lead of 35 percent. ( for the latest county and statewide results.)
Redmond City Council member Hank Myers, a precinct committee officer, said he was impressed by the turnout and civility shown by the participants.
"I've been really happy with the energy and the enthusiasm and the mix of ages," Myers said.
Although supporters of each candidate attended the caucus, the precinct meetings appeared to go on without much contention. Precinct Committee Officer Adam Commander said there was little debate in his precinct, with most participants agreeing Romney has the best chance of winning the general election.
"He's the guy that has the best chance to beat Obama," Commander said.
But not everyone at the caucus had drawn the same conclusion. Marianne Severson of Redmond said prior to the caucus that she was supporting Santorum because he "is the one that (I) identify most with."
"I think whoever the nominee is will have a chance against Obama," Severson said.
Similarly, Paul supporter John de Groot said he thinks Paul would "do great" against Obama. "But the other factor is you have to go with what you believe is right, first and foremost," he said.
Saturday's caucus was a new experience for Jay and Mary McRae, who said they were supporting Gingrich. The couple decided to participate for the first time this year because the Washington state primary was canceled.
"It seemed like the only way to be involved in the process," Mary McRae said.