Kennedy heavily favored in Garfield County Democratic caucuses | PostIndependent.com

Kennedy heavily favored in Garfield County Democratic caucuses

Former state treasurer scored most support statewide in crowded field

Cary Kennedy, a former state treasurer who is running for governor, speaks with voters at a campaign event in Glenwood Springs in December.
John Stroud / Post Independent

Former Colorado state Treasurer Cary Kennedy was the overwhelming favorite to win the Democrats’ nomination to run for governor at Garfield County precinct caucuses held Tuesday from Carbondale to Parachute.

In preference polls taken at the six caucus sites, Kennedy won initial support from 58 percent of the caucus attendees, followed by Congressman Jared Polis with 22 percent, former state Sen. Mike Johnston with 13 percent and Denver businessman Noel Ginsburg with 1 percent. The other 6 percent were uncommitted, Garfield County Democratic Party Chairwoman Gretchen Brogdon announced.

Republicans did not take a preference poll at their caucuses on Tuesday, Garfield County Party Chairwoman Carrie Couey said. Delegates were elected to attend the upcoming county assembly and the state Republican Assembly next month, where nominations to be on the primary ballot will be decided.

Among the top GOP candidates to replace Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is term-limited, are current state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and businessman Doug Robinson.

One of the top-tier Democratic candidates in the governor’s race, current Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, is foregoing the grassroots party nomination process in favor of petitioning onto the June 26 primary ballot. Lynne has the backing of her boss, current Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who is term-limited after eight years in office.

The nomination process began with this week’s caucuses for both Democrats and Republicans, followed by county party assemblies, slated for March 17 in Garfield County, the state party conventions next month and the primary elections in June. Colorado voters will decide the next governor in the Nov. 6 general election.

Kennedy was also the top choice in the statewide caucuses, collecting support from 50 percent of caucus goers to Polis’s 32.5 percent, Johnston’s 8.8 percent, Ginsburg’s 1.7 percent and 0.4 percent for candidate Erik Underwood.

“Garfield County Democrats were pleased with our caucus turnout in a midterm year,” Brogdon said. “We also had robust discussions around our county platform and look forward to ratifying resolutions at our County Assembly as we prepare to represent Garfield County at the State Assembly.

“We saw new participation this year trending with the momentum we are seeing across the country,” she said.

Couey said attendance at the Republican caucuses was down, partly because no preference polls were being taken. The open primary elections this year, which will allow unaffiliated voters to choose between voting in either the Republican or Democratic primary, have also limited participation in the early stages of the political process, she said.

The Garfield County Republican Assembly takes place at 9 a.m. March 17 at the Morgridge Commons space in the CMC/Glenwood Springs Library building. County Democrats will gather that same day, at 2:30 p.m. at the New Castle Library.