Garfield County voters eager to caucus |

Garfield County voters eager to caucus

Phillip Yates
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Garfield County Democratic and Republican leaders wanted their party members to register about a half hour before their caucuses started Tuesday.

They probably should have asked their party faithful to come about a half-hour earlier than that.

Democratic and Republican turnout at caucus sites in Glenwood Springs Tuesday night was heavy, with people waiting in long lines to participate.

At the Garfield County Courthouse, Democrats almost filled the entire third floor. Hundreds of people stood shoulder to shoulder waiting to register. Just the walk to the exit took a few minutes.

Barack Obama seemed certain to carry the vote there. Dozens of people had Obama stickers on their chests. No one seemed to wear a Hillary sticker. When someone wanted to know if there were any Hillary Clinton supporters, a woman overheard the question and said, “I hope not.”

At the Glenwood Springs Community Center, a smaller but still large group of Republicans also waited in line to register for their party caucus. Preferences on the candidate were varied, but many people seemed particularly opposed to John McCain.

Both Garfield County Republican and Democratic leaders said they expected a heavy turnout Tuesday. Their expectations were met, and they attributed that to Colorado’s participation in Super Tuesday, a day when 21 other states conducted primaries and caucuses.

In previous years, Colorado parties held their caucuses later in the year. As a result, they didn’t mean as much, according to local party leaders.

This year it was different. And many of the people who flocked to area caucus sites were first-time participants.

Jerry Foster, 66, was one of them. He has lived in Colorado for a large part of his life, but said that this year was the first time he participated in the state’s caucuses. He said it was “amazing” to see how caught up people at the caucus and across the state were in the presidential election.

“The American people are totally fed up with the people in Washington,” Foster said at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. “The politicians are clueless.”

Although he was a Republican, Foster said he liked Obama, calling the candidate “refreshing.” But he added the candidate doesn’t have the resume to be the next president.

As for the Republican candidates, Foster knew exactly who he wasn’t going to vote for.

“McCain scares me,” he said, citing the candidate’s immigration record.

Back at the Garfield County Courthouse, Bronwyne Hostettler, 32, said she came out to support “my man.” That candidate was Obama. Tuesday was her first caucus, too.

“Usually I wait till the general election,” said Hostettler, but added that her participation was necessary Tuesday night. “It is all about the delegates. Every bit helps.”

When the general election comes in November, Nichole Bergman, 22, will probably cancel out Hostettler’s vote. She came out to the Community Center Tuesday night but later learned she had to go to another site to participate in the Republican caucus after waiting a long time to register.

“I am glad to see a lot of the Republicans here,” she said.

Tuesday was also Bergman’s first caucus, an event she said she didn’t want to miss.

“Our candidates are not as strong as conservatives as we would prefer,” Bergman said. “I wanted to make sure I voted for the most conservative of the candidates.”

Bergman said that led her to Republican Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

Rod Savoye, who said he was older than 65 years old, said that Tuesday was also his first caucus. He and his wife, Audrey, moved to Colorado from Connecticut three years ago. They are used to presidential primaries. They both wanted to see what a caucus was like.

Savoye said the lack of incumbents and vice presidents running for president in both the Republican and Democratic parties made this year’s election especially interesting.

However, Savoye said he was interested in only one candidate.

“We are Obama people,” Savoye said. “I am really tired of the old guard. That includes the Bushes and the Clintons. We want a fresh face.”

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