Democratic, Republican caucuses held tonight
Post Independent Staff
The political season in Colorado kicks off this evening as people throughout the state attend precinct caucuses at private homes and public meeting places.
For Garfield County Republicans and Democrats, caucuses are key to the election process leading up to this year’s general election on Nov. 2.
“Precinct caucuses are the purest form of grassroots politics,” explained Leslie Robinson of Rifle, the second vice chair of the Democratic Party in Colorado.
Anyone can attend a precinct caucus, but only registered Democrats and Republicans can participate in voting for delegates and candidates.
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“Independents can come to caucuses, although they can’t vote,” said Robinson. “And Republicans can attend Democrat caucuses and vice versa, though again, they can’t vote.”
“We encourage any person who is interested in the political process to attend their precinct caucus,” said Garfield County Republican chair Jim Larson of Glenwood Springs.
“It’s an opportunity to see how government works,” added Larson. “People can become part of the selection process to determine who’s going to be in charge.”
With 27 precincts in Garfield County, the two parties are organizing their precinct caucuses differently. Republicans are breaking into smaller meetings while Democrats are holding larger caucuses by combining precincts (see related story).
According to the Garfield County Clerk’s office, there are more than 26,000 registered voters in Garfield County. However, according to Lisa Doran of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, fewer people are attending precinct caucuses.
She attributes some of this to people not understanding or being confused about the precinct caucus process, and what actually occurs at a caucus meeting.
Both of Garfield’s party chairs would like to reverse this trend. Both said precinct caucuses are key to determining what issues are important to citizens.
“Voters discuss which candidates they like and what issues they want to see on the local, state and national level,” said Robinson.
“Depending on who attends a precinct caucus, a candidate or an issue may take precedence,” Larson said. “That’s why it’s important to attend these meetings.”
Doran said Democrats and Republicans conduct their caucuses in different ways.
“The caucus system is really a party function,” said Doran. “The parties follow general rules, though each party writes their own bylaws.”
No matter the party, some processes are the same. Qualified caucus attendees elect a caucus chairperson for the meeting, who leads the caucus and takes attendance to verify voters’ eligibility. Attendees also elect a secretary who takes meeting minutes.
Both parties also elect county delegates who will represent their parties at Garfield County’s assemblies.
The county’s Republican Assembly is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 24, at a location to be announced, and the Democratic Assembly is set for 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Glenwood Springs High School.
From there, parties conduct different activities.
Robinson said at this year’s Democratic precinct caucuses, registered Democrats will also vote for the Democratic candidates for U.S. president and Colorado’s U.S. Senator.
Larson said at the county’s Republican precinct caucuses, besides electing delegates and alternates for the county assembly, election judges will be selected.
On the most grassroots level, Garfield County Democrat party chairman Don Kaufman said precinct caucuses allow the political process to begin in neighborhoods.
“If people are upset about how things are, precinct caucuses are where change starts,” Kaufman said. “You can sit back and be complacent, or you can get involved in the caucus system. And even if you don’t plan on attending your precinct caucus, call up your local party and volunteer.”
Information: Garfield County Clerk, 945-2377, ext. 2.
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518
Here are the locations for precinct caucuses for Republicans and Democrats in Garfield County, to be held from 7-9 p.m. tonight.
Precinct caucuses are the first step in the process to choose nominees for local, state and federal offices, and to establish issues platforms.
Registered party members may attend and vote at their precinct caucus. Some precincts will be combined for the caucus meetings.
Republican Party precinct caucuses
Carbondale Precincts 1-4: Days Inn, 950 Cowen Drive. Contact information at 963-1542, 963-2979 or 963-2531.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 5: home of Shannon Stowe, 192 River Ridge Drive, 945-2379.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 6: Holliday House meeting room, 1527 Blake Ave., 928-7558.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 7: home of Al Maggard, 918 Lincoln Ave., 945-5819.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 8: home of Diane Delaney, 344 Park Drive, 945-7612.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 9: home of Chris Treese, 1302 Mountain Drive, 945-6818.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 10: home of Eric Strautman, 0175 Deer Park Court, 945-0907.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 11: home of Donald Click, 511 Princeton Circle, 945-6381.
Glenwood Springs Precinct 12: home of Marilee Rippy, 0213 Creekside Court, 945-7731.
New Castle Precinct 13: Apple Tree Mall, 5033 County Road 335, 984-2013.
New Castle Precinct 14: home of Mary Ann Taylor, 436 E. Main, 984-2975.
New Castle Precinct 15: home of Brett Jolley, 1288 County Road 245, 984-3562.
New Castle Precinct 16: Gail Schultz, 2859 County Road 335, 984-3208.
Silt Precinct 17: home of Levy Burris, 5411 County Road 346, 876-0653.
Silt Precinct 18: Congregational Church, 580 Home Ave., 876-1920.
Rifle Precinct 19: home of Carleton Hoffmeister, 0993 County Road 227, 625-0134.
Rifle Precincts 20-23: Rifle Fire Station, 1850 Railroad Ave., 625-1641.
Parachute and Battlement Mesa Precincts 24-27: Battlement Mesa Activity Center, 0398 Arroyo Drive, 285-7529, 285-2060 or 285-9053.
Democratic Party precinct caucuses
Carbondale Precincts 1-4: Carbondale Elementary School, 600 S. 3rd., 963-0416.
Glenwood Springs Precincts 5-12: Garfield County Courthouse, Room 301, 945-2396 or 945-8993.
New Castle Precincts 13-15: New Castle Community Center, 423 W. Main St., 984-9876.
Silt Precincts 16-18; Silt Town Hall, 231 N. 7th St., 945-8205.
Rifle Precincts 19-23, Wamsley Elementary, 225 E. 30th St., 625-1797
Battlement Mesa/Parachute Precincts 24-27: Grand Valley High School, 800 Cardinal Way, 285-9826.
U.S. Senate: Bob Schaffer; Peter Coors is expected to formally announce his candidacy today.
3rd District: Gregg Rippy, Matt Smith, Greg Walcher, Delina DiSanto, Doug Sitter, Dan Corsentino
State representative District 57: Al White (incumbent)
State representative District 61: Becky Rippy
State Senate: Jack Taylor (incumbent)
Garfield County District Attorney: Lawson Wills, Colleen Truden
Garfield County Commissioners (two seats): Larry McCown, John Martin (incumbents)
The inside: On Monday, 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis announced he will officially endorse Coors. “I am confident that Peter Coors is Colorado’s best choice to represent our interests in the Senate,” McInnis stated.
U.S. Senate: Mile Miles, Ken Salazar, Larry Johnson
3rd District: Jim Spehar, John Salazar, Randy Fricke, Anthony Martinez
State Representative 57: Open
State Representative 61: Kathleen Curry
State Senate: Jay Fetcher
Garfield County District Attorney: Open
Garfield County Commissioners (two seats): Greg Jeung, Keith Lambert
The inside: Garfield County Democrat Leslie Robinson said although no one has declared candidacies for Democratic State District 57 or District Attorney, new candidates may emerge at precinct caucuses.
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