Caucuses to serve as kickoff to local 2004 campaign season | PostIndependent.com
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Caucuses to serve as kickoff to local 2004 campaign season

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” As the weather warms up this spring, area political campaigns are getting set to do the same.

Some Garfield County candidates have already announced their intentions to run for office; their next step is to convince those who attend the county’s caucuses.

Garfield County Democrat Bill Evans of Glenwood Springs described a caucus as “a neighborhood meeting.”



“It’s one of the most basic functions in democracy,” Evans said.

Garfield County Republican Party chairman Jim Larson said the caucuses are mandated by state statute.



“The Legislature established this as the procedure that’s most suitable in order to build up grassroots democracy,” Larson said. He noted that in 2002, Colorado voters shot down a proposal to change the system.

Caucuses are the first step in the process to nominate candidates for county and state offices. This year, voters will choose candidates for county commissioner, district attorney, state representative and U.S. representative and senator.

Anyone who is a registered voter with a political party can attend their precinct caucus and can lobby and vote for the candidates they’d like to see get their party’s nomination.

Candidates must get 30 percent of the countywide caucus vote to be nominated for a particular race. Because of that threshold, as many as three candidates could be nominated. It’s more common, however, to have just one or two nominated.

Both the Garfield County Democrats and Republicans will have their caucuses from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13.

The Democrats will combine precincts to hold six caucus meetings in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute. (See box.)

The Republicans have not yet determined caucus locations, Larson said.

Petitions another way

to get on ballot

If a candidate fails to receive the required 30 percent of the vote at the county caucus level, they can seek a nomination by petition. If the candidate can gather enough signatures, the candidate’s name will be on the Aug. 10 primary ballot.

Just such a situation happened in 1996 when current District 2 Garfield County Commissioner John Martin failed to get enough votes at the Republican caucus.

“John did not make the ballot, but he petitioned the ballot and he won the primary,” Evans said.

Martin also won the general election and was re-elected in 2000.

The caucus is also used to bring up any issues that seem important in the eyes of precinct residents, and to choose people to attend the county assembly.

“From a party standpoint, we select delegates at the caucus to go to the county assembly,” Evans said. “Those delegates will nominate and vote on candidates for county office.”

The county’s Republican Assembly is slated to start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 24.

The Garfield County Democratic Assembly is scheduled to run from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Glenwood Springs High School.

If there is more than one candidate in a party for a seat in any given office, the candidates would next need to compete in the primary election, which will be held throughout the state on Tuesday, Aug. 10. As with caucuses, only voters who are registered with a particular party may vote in the primary election.

Once each party’s candidates are nominated, the last step is the general election, which will be on Nov. 2.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

gmasse@postindependent.com

Carbondale Precincts 1-4; Carbondale Elementary School, 600 S. 3rd. Contact Georgia Chamberlain, 963-0416.

Glenwood Springs Precincts 5-12: Garfield County Courthouse, Room 301. Contact Don Kaufman, 945-2396, or Bill Evans, 945-8993.

New Castle Precincts 13-15: New Castle Community Center, 423 W. Main St. Contact Greg Russi, 984-9876.

Silt Precincts 16-18; Silt Town Hall, 231 N. 7th St. Contact Randy Corry, 945-8205.

Rifle Precincts 19-23, Wamsley Elementary, 225 E 30th St. Contact Leslie Robinson, 625-1797

Battlement Mesa/Parachute Precincts 24-27: Grand Valley High School, 800 Cardinal Way, Parachute. Contact Dana Barker, 285-9826.

Carbondale Precincts 1-4; Carbondale Elementary School, 600 S. 3rd. Contact Georgia Chamberlain, 963-0416.

Glenwood Springs Precincts 5-12: Garfield County Courthouse, Room 301. Contact Don Kaufman, 945-2396, or Bill Evans, 945-8993.

New Castle Precincts 13-15: New Castle Community Center, 423 W. Main St. Contact Greg Russi, 984-9876.

Silt Precincts 16-18; Silt Town Hall, 231 N. 7th St. Contact Randy Corry, 945-8205.

Rifle Precincts 19-23, Wamsley Elementary, 225 E 30th St. Contact Leslie Robinson, 625-1797

Battlement Mesa/Parachute Precincts 24-27: Grand Valley High School, 800 Cardinal Way, Parachute. Contact Dana Barker, 285-9826.


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