Caucus 101

Dear Editor:

The Colorado Republican Precinct Caucus, the first official element in a series of elements leading to the choice of Republican candidate(s) to be placed on the primary and general election ballots, will take place at 7 p.m. on 4 March 2014 at eight separate locations corresponding to the eight precincts in Archuleta County. See for exact locations and call the Archuleta County Clerk, 264-8331, if you are not sure of your precinct.

At these eight Precinct Caucuses, voters present will choose among those expressing a desire, verbally or in writing, to be a delegate to the next element in the caucus process, the County Assembly. Absentee and proxy votes are not permitted.

Those delegates to the County Assembly (22 March 2014) chosen at the Precinct Caucuses will then choose who will be the Republican candidate(s) for County office(s) on the primary election ballot (24 June 2014). This year almost every elected office is up: one County Commissioner seat from District 3 currently represented by Michael Whiting (U), County Assessor currently represented by Natalie Woodruff (R), County Clerk currently represented by June Madrid (R), County Coroner currently represented by Carl Macht (R), County Sheriff currently represented by Peter Gonzalez (R), County Surveyor currently represented by Thomas Johnston (U), and County Treasurer currently represented by Betty Diller (R).

The County Assembly delegates elected at the Precinct Caucus and present at the Assembly will choose among those delegates who will be delegates to the three State Political Districts which include Archuleta County and are up for election this year: the 3rd US Congressional (3rd CD), the 6th State Senatorial (6th SD), and the 59th State House (59th HD). The current representatives for these districts are 3rd CD – Scott Tipton (R), 6th SD – Ellen Roberts (R), and 59th HD – Michael McLachlan (D). These Political District’s delegates will choose the candidate(s) to be put on the Republican primary ballot.

There is one more step in the caucus process that deals with delegates. The delegates that you chose at the Precinct Caucus to go to the County Assembly will choose among themselves who will be delegates to the State Convention.

The State Convention delegates will get to choose who will be on the Republican primary ballot for all of the Statewide offices that are up this year: the US Senate currently represented by Mark Udall (D), Governor currently represented by John Hickenlooper (D), Attorney General currently represented by John Suthers (R), Secretary of State currently represented by Scott Gessler (R), and State Treasurer currently represented by Walker Stapleton (R).

The delegates at the State Convention will also vote on the party platform. These party principles and ideologies were initiated in the Precinct Caucuses as resolutions, were refined and further defined at the County Assemblies, District Assemblies, and finally at the State Convention.

So, you can see that your vote at the Precinct Caucus on 4 March 2014 can determine, or at least influence, who you will get a chance to vote for in the primary election and general election. Therefore, I urge you to choose wisely at the Precinct Caucus. Finally, remember ultimately you as a registered voter not a delegate, will make the final choice of the winner in the primary and general.

Jim Huffman

This story was posted on January 16, 2014.