Garfield GOP to caucus tonight
Colorado’s Grand Old Party will caucus tonight in schools, town halls and community centers across the state, with Republicans casting a nonbinding preference vote for candidates running in the presidential primary.In Garfield County, caucuses will be held at five locations from Parachute to Carbondale, with registration starting at 6:30 p.m. and caucus business starting promptly at 7 p.m.”This is the opportunity to get involved at the entry level in the Garfield County Republican Party,” said Dave Merritt of Glenwood Springs, the acting county Republican Party chairman. “It’s a chance to express your preferences at the local, state and national level, and have a say for the folks who affect you most closely, which are your local and state candidates.”Merritt said caucuses will start with statements prepared by the candidates, and then people will break out into different areas of the five buildings for individual precinct caucusing.Precinct residents can discuss the candidates and try to persuade each other. Then each precinct’s participants will cast secret ballots in a nonbinding preference poll.”No delegates are allocated based on this,” said Merritt of the caucus poll. Colorado’s 36 national delegates will be chosen when Republicans convene on April 14 in Denver for the state convention, he said.Still, the results of tonight’s statewide preference poll could indicate how the state’s delegates will divide between candidates as they head for the party’s national convention.Tonight’s caucuses are also the first step in the election year political process, which includes a county assembly, district assemblies, the state convention, the primary election and the national party conventions.Republicans and Democrats are on parallel tracks, and Democrats will start the process with their party caucuses a month from now, on March 6.In other business at the GOP caucuses tonight, party members will elect precinct committee members and choose the 62 delegates and up to 62 alternates to attend the Garfield County assembly.Party members will also recognize the Republican primary candidates for seats in the state Legislature, but no polling or delegate selection will occur for those races.Bob Rankin of Glenwood Springs and Ron Roesener of Parachute are vying for the Republican nomination for House District 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.State Sen. Jean White and state Rep. Randy Baumgardner are vying for the nomination for Senate District 8, which sprawls across Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Grand and Summit counties.The Republican party caucus events are open to everyone, but participation and voting is limited to those who have registered as Republicans prior to Dec. 7 and have lived in their current precinct prior to Jan. 7.Merritt said Garfield County has nearly 10,000 registered Republicans.
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