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Sheldon decides to stick with Democrats

"Don't change that D after state Sen. Tim Sheldon's name to an R just yet.Sheldon, who had intimated that he planned to switch party affiliations, said he'll remain in the Democratic caucus at least through this year for the sake of continuity.Sheldon said he'd stay so the people who work for the Secretary of the Senate's office will know there's continuity. I wanted to give them some stability.Sheldon, of Potlatch, said the majority party is responsible for hiring the professionals who work in the offices, including the clerk's office in the state House of Representatives.I wanted to get this out (because) each of the caucuses has to choose their members, committees and chairmen, Sheldon said. He added that next year, anything could happen.One of those things looming over the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 8, is the change in the state's blanket primary system.Voters don't know that's out there. The Republican and Democratic parties won the court challenge to change the system, whereby voters would have to declare a party affiliation to vote in primary elections, Sheldon said.The U.S. Supreme Court decision says (the blanket primary) violated the voters' ability to associate with their own members, he said.Sheldon noted that the Washington challenge was based on a decision on the California blanket primary a couple of months ago.Interestingly, the California primary was modeled after Washington's, Sheldon said.The blanket primary has been in effect since 1932, he said.It was one of the first initiatives passed, and it was passed by the Granges, to have open primaries, Sheldon said.We like that, we're not as partisan as some of the eastern states, he added.He said partisan primaries will be a continuing concern because people don't want to be identified by name. They don't like being called (by solicitors) and targeted specifically for fundraisers. "

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