Forrest Luke, Precinct 1 co-chair, instructs voters from the precinct how to vote for delegates.

Photo by Erin Fenner

Forrest Luke, Precinct 1 co-chair, instructs voters from the precinct how to vote for delegates.

Republic becomes a democracy at precinct caucuses in Moffat County

— Moffat County residents partook in one of their most celebrated constitutional rights Tuesday night at several different precinct caucuses.

The precinct caucuses determine the delegates who will vote in the county and state assemblies for local and state candidates for the 2014 elections. The caucuses are broken into precinct and party designations. The Republican caucuses took place in 12 different precincts, and the Democrats met at one location at the American Legion Post. At the caucuses, delegates are nominated and voted on.

The Precinct 1 caucus, hosted at Ridgeview Elementary School, brought dozens of registered Republican voters and some local candidates. Tom Soos, running for Moffat County Commissioner, and Larry Dalton, running for Moffat County Sheriff, attended the Precinct 1 caucus to win the support of delegates from their precinct.

Brandi Meek, Moffat County chairwoman for the Republican executive committee, said 28 people were vying to be delegates for Precinct 1.

“This really is the beginning of that grass-roots effort to become involved in who goes to the assembly,” she said. “This is an opportunity to really have a say in government.”

Many residents came to support specific candidates.

Craig City Councilman Ray Beck came to the Precinct 9 location because he wanted to support a candidate for sheriff: KC Hume, the operations chief for Moffat County Sheriff’s Office.

Hume “asked if I would be a delegate for him,” Beck said. “It’s a process that’s been productive, and I’m proud of it.”

Hume, who was the precinct co-chair at Precinct 9, said the caucuses highlight the election process at the most local level.

“Precinct co-chairs are tasked with running committee meetings as the smallest part of government,” he said. “It brings the community together.”

It also serves a party function, Hume said.

For Republicans it “allows us and opportunity to get together to share those values and concepts,” he said.

Democrats hosted just one caucus because the turnout of registered Democrats typically has been low in the county, said Jo Ann Baxter, chair of the Moffat County Democrats. But the process is still worthwhile to be involved in.

“The caucuses are the place where we, as grass-roots people, have the most power to influence everything,” said Brian Baxter, treasurer for the Moffat County Democrats. “This is the place where our republic becomes a real democracy.”

Selected delegates will move on to the county and state assemblies. There, they can vote for their party’s candidate. The county assembly will take place March 29 and the state assembly will be April 12.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.

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