By BUZZY HASSRICK
Special to the Enterprise
The partisans for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders outnumbered the Hillary Clinton enthusiasts at the Park County Democratic caucus Saturday in Cody.
Before the tally, however, they were united in a declaration the crowd recited not once but three times, increasing in volume each time -- “I’m a proud Wyoming Democrat.”
The final tally of ballots cast by participants and surrogates numbered 155 for Sanders and 97 for Clinton. Surrogate ballots were submitted before the caucus by registered Democrats who couldn’t attend the gathering.
The ratio of Sanders vs. Clinton votes means that, of Park County’s 13 delegates to the state convention, eight went to Sanders and five to Clinton. The delegates, along with 13 alternates, will attend the state convention May 18 in Cheyenne. The national convention will take place in August in Philadelphia.
Each candidate was nominated by a participant, starting with Clinton, former Secretary of State.
“She’s so absolutely qualified,” said Kelly Tamblyn of Cody, who recently switched from independent to Democrat because of Clinton. “There’s no other candidate with her experience.”
While some of the goals of the two rivals may be similar, “she can build a more stable bridge to get there,” Tamblyn added. “She’ll do the hard work to get us there.”
Later, after her brief nomination speech, Tamblyn elaborated.
“Clinton will move the country to a more democratic society, so everyone can benefit by living here, regardless of race, religion or gender,” she said. “She’s proven to be stalwart.
“She handles herself well in the face of adversity, and she’s continued to work for every American regardless of her place or position in this country.”
The Clinton supporters were drowned out by the Sanders crowd.
“We need a big change in this country,” declared Don Kirk of Cody. “Bernie has ignited a fire in me. It’s nice to see it in millennials too.”
As a progressive candidate, Sanders will help the young generation with their future, Kirk said. Sanders, in his opinion, has not set goals that are beyond reach, as Kirk favors setting the bar high and not accepting the status quo.
“We need real change out there,” Kirk said. “He’s been dedicated to us for years.”
He noted that Sanders, senator from Vermont, has visited Wyoming and advertised on television, adding that he’s also from a small state and has always fought for the little guy.
“Bernie will never ignore us,” Kirk said. “We’re a small state, but we’re important.”
The conventioneers selected delegates for state convention and then worked on the platform, wrapping up around 3 p.m., reported Park County Democratic chair Mike Specht of Clark. The session began at 11 a.m. at Cody Cattle Co.
“I thought it went really well,” he summarized. “Just under 25 percent of registered Democrats were able to cast a ballot, a hair below the nationwide average.”
The county elections office reported a total of 1,198 registered Democrats on Friday, and a few registered on Saturday, to put the total above 1,200, Specht said.
“It was good to see a lot of young people involved,” he added, noting that some 17-year-olds participated who will be 18 by the November election. Others were under 24, “which is good for the party. It shows we’re not all dying off.”
Some were participating for the first time, while the Sanders camp included all ages.
“Bernie seemed to be appealing to the under 30s and older,” Specht said.
He mentioned one elderly woman who made a special effort to attend because she wanted to vote for Sanders. Specht added that it’s important for a lot of people of all persuasions to get involved because of the major issues facing the country.
“Nobody is going to fix the problems by themselves,” he said.