State GOP Considers Presidential Primary

Colorado Republicans will weigh in on whether the state should return to a presidential primary system when they gather for their state convention this weekend. Colorado held primaries three times before changing back to a caucus system in 2004, in part to save money.

Supporters of the caucus system say it provides an opportunity to discuss candidates and issues in a town hall-style meeting. But state Republican Party Chair Ryan Call says some GOP members want the party to endorse a presidential primary instead. He says they argue more people would participate when they have all day to vote instead of having to attend a caucus at night.

“There’s been a feeling that the caucus disenfranchises military voters and folks who take their kids to soccer practice because caucuses occur only at seven o'clock on a particular day during the week,” he said.

If the party endorses the idea, Call says the GOP would hold a closed primary, meaning only people registered as Republicans could vote. The state Legislature would need to approve the change.

About 3,800 people will attend the state assembly, or convention, in Denver this weekend. They will be asked to complete a survey of about 60 questions that will include the presidential voting system as well as social and economic issues. The survey results will help determine the party’s official positions.

Call says more than 850 people will run to become delegates to the national convention. That’s almost three times the number that ran in 2004.

“It tells me very clearly that people are excited. People are enthused. And they want to play a role in what is a historic and critical election,” Call said.

Twelve delegates and twelve alternates will be selected at the state convention. Others will be chosen earlier in the week in each Congressional district. Overall, the state will select 33 delegates and 33 alternates for the national convention.

[Photo: CPR]