Colorado Caucus Goers Choose Sanders

March 2, 2016
Explaining the caucus rules to a precinct. 34 precincts caucused at Creighton Middle School in Lakewood. Explaining the caucus rules to a precinct. 34 precincts caucused at Creighton Middle School in Lakewood. Bente Birkeland / RMCR
Explaining the caucus rules to a precinct. 34 precincts caucused at Creighton Middle School in Lakewood.

Voters in eleven states went to the polls or caucused on Super Tuesday. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won Colorado's Democratic caucuses. He also grabbed victories in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and in his home state.

On the GOP side, Colorado Republicans did not take a preference poll for the presidential race.

More than two thousand people came to Creighton Middle School in Lakewood to caucus on Tuesday. Parking was tight and the resulting traffic jam got the evening off to a later start. That was okay for Dave Risser. The electrician said he will back the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee, whoever it is.

"I like Hillary and I like Bernie but I like Bernie better," said Risser. "He doesn't take the money. He's worried about the middle guy and the low guy, and he wants money out of politics. When you take money from the people you say you don't want to take money from it really hurts you."

Registered Democrats from 34 different precincts caucused at this middle school. And Bernie Sanders won all but a handful, many by twenty point margins, while others were closer.

In one precinct where Sanders won by eleven points, it was initially too close to call because nearly a dozen people were undecided. Clinton and Sanders' supporters lobbied them for about an hour.

"I just want to see whoever is going to make the most change," said 25 year-old Jordan Grote. She was undecided and said she was always leaning towards backing Sanders, but needed some convincing before she cast her final vote.

"Bernie is kind of the underdog and being a millennial we always get a bad rap for what we do, and he's pulling for us."

Caucus-goers line up in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonCredit Bente Birkeland / RMCR
Caucus-goers line up in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

Some Hillary Clinton supporters were surprised that she didn't do better. But Tracey Mahoney, a community college teacher, said it was similar to her experience caucusing for Clinton in 2008 against Barack Obama. She believes younger voters may not have accurate information.

"I think Hilary has gotten some unfair treatment since she's been in the media spotlight for over 30 years now, and these kids who are voting for Bernie grew up listening to horror stories about her that a lot of us just know aren't true."

For Clinton supporter John Torrez, it's her background that he thinks makes her the most qualified.

"It's great that there's two outstanding candidates for the Democratic party instead of what's going on, on the Republican side. So it feels good to be a Democrat," said Torrez. "The reason I choose Hillary for me and my family is she has more experience."

Almost everyone interviewed said they would back either candidate. But there were exceptions, like Estella Algueseva.

"I think [Sanders is] living in a dream world and he's getting our kids excited about all these things he's going to be able to do but he's not going to be able to do," said Estella Algueseva.  " What he's offering all these young people, free education, free this, free that, you can't do that, we don't have the money for it."

For others, Clinton's principles aren't as strong, and that's whey they're advocating for Sanders.

Caucus-goers line up in support of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersCredit Bente Birkeland / RMCR
Caucus-goers line up in support of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

"I would not envision Bernie Sanders voting for an unbudgeted trillion dollar immoral war that costs thousands of U.S. lives and that's probably by biggest issue with Hillary," said Jonathan Fleck. " While other people say she's a warrior and she knows how to compromise, to me, those are horrible attributes."

Fleck also believes the office of president has largely become symbolic.

"Donald Trump running for president signifies it's largely symbolic, so if it's going to be symbolic, lets vote for the ideas."

And while Sanders picked up a big win in Colorado, Clinton still racked up the most delegates on Super Tuesday, taking seven states.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump won seven states; Senator Ted Cruz won three, and Senator Marco Rubio, one.