Fate of candidates determined in April

Delegates to be chosen at county caucus

Many people have chosen to throw their hats into the ring of political candidacy, but just because they wish it, doesn't make it so.

Colorado is one of the few remaining states where candidates must be confirmed by delegates at county, state and national conventions before their names appear on the ballot.

That process begins with the caucus at 7 p.m. April 11.

During the caucus, delegates are chosen to go on to the county convention where they vote for those who have announced candidacy. A candidate must have at least 30 percent of the delegate vote to appear on a ballot.

"The caucus is the start of the grass roots process for getting candidates in the process," Republican Party Chairwoman Corrie Scott said. "It's a very select group of people who choose who the rest of the county votes on."

The caucus is open to the public. According to Scott, anyone can participate as long as they are a registered voter, a resident of Moffat County and have declared a party.

Delegates are chosen by each party in each of the 13 voting precincts in the county. People wishing to be a delegate nominate themselves and are voted on by any registered voter who attends the caucus.

It is up to the precinct chairman whether or not a delegate must tell which candidate they would vote for, but it is common practice.

The process of voting on delegates takes about an hour on is the only business done at a caucus.

Once chosen, delegates go on to attend the county convention where they vote on candidates. Doors open for the Republican county convention at 7:30 a.m. May 6 at the Craig Intermediate School. The convention begins at 8:30 a.m. The Democratic county convention is at 10 a.m. April 29 at Shadow Mountain Clubhouse.

At the conventions, delegates will vote on candidates for two Moffat County commissioner seats, the state representative for the 57th district, the state senator for district 8, the Third Congressional seat and the 14th Judicial District.

Les Hampton will be running against Pam Foster on the Republican ticket for the District 2 county commissioner seat. Marianna Raftopoulos is running unopposed for the District 1 seat. Craig resident Kirk Schott will run against Glenwood Springs resident Greg Rippy will face off on the Republican ticket for the seat currently held by Rep. Russell George, R-Rifle, in the Colorado House. Republican Jack Taylor will run against Democrat Paul Ohri for a seat on the Colorado Senate.

Foster, Hampton, Schott and Rippy will all compete for a spot on the general election ballot by gaining the most votes in the Colorado primary election Aug. 8. The general election will be Nov. 7.

At the county convention, all candidates are given the chance to speak or have a letter read if they cannot attend. Those receiving the most votes will be listed first on the ballot.

A total of 140 delegates will be chosen for the Republican Party which means each candidate must have at least 42 delegate votes to appear on the ballot. It is not yet known how many delegates will be selected for the Democratic party.

"It is a complicated process," Scott said. "If you haven't participated in it, it gets very confusing."

Despite the confusion, Scott urges anyone who can to participate.

"My whole purpose is to get people involved in the process and get them to get out and vote," she said. "It's very important to have people participate. It may not be the very best process, but it's what we have."

It's an issue both parties agree on.

"I'd like to urge people to go to their caucuses and get involved. I'd like everyone to make sure they are registered to vote, too," Democratic Party Chairwoman Sandy Seip said.

Delegates also vote on resolutions that might someday become legislation with enough support at the county convention.

Anyone can submit a resolution to the resolution committee at the caucus. Those resolutions are read at the county convention and voted on by delegates. If they pass, they will be sent on to the state and national levels. This year, Scott expects to see a resolution giving Colorado an earlier presidential primary election or not one at all.

This year, officials estimate the election cost Moffat County taxpayers about $100 per voter because of the low turnout. Most believe the turnout was low because the Colorado primary was held three days after most states had already held theirs and the decision was already made.

"This was a tough year," Seip said. "There's really not a lot going on locally and it seems like people aren't as interested in the presidential race as they usually are."

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