Colorado’s small, in-person RNC delegation says the event was “spectacular.” But other Republicans feel left behind. |

Colorado’s small, in-person RNC delegation says the event was “spectacular.” But other Republicans feel left behind.

The GOP opted to have a small, in-person element as part of their celebration of President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, a move that contrasts with Democrats whose national gathering was held almost entirely over video conference.

Evan Ochsner / Colorado Sun
Colorado delegates Randy Corporon, George Leing, Don Ytterberg, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, Vera Ortegon and Joy Hoffman attended the in-person portion of the Republican National Convention in North Carolina.
Courtesy Photo / Colorado Republican Party

The Colorado delegates chosen to attend the Republican National Convention in person say catching coronavirus while in North Carolina wasn’t a concern, and some who had to stay home say they wish the national party had held a full, normal event.

Colorado sent six representatives to join the 336 delegates who gathered at the start of the week to unanimously nominate President Donald Trump for reelection.

Per party protocols, the delegates submitted daily symptom reports and took COVID-19 tests before they left for Charlotte and again when they arrived. They also completed temperature scans before being permitted to participate in the day’s events. 

Delegate Don Ytterberg, a former state GOP official from Golden, said the safety measures “were nothing short of spectacular.”

The in-person start to the four-day Republican convention stands in contrast to the virtual format employed by Democrats a week earlier. As Trump faces criticism for his handling of the coronavirus, Republicans are grappling with a tenuous balance: acknowledging the virus has killed more than 175,000 Americans and plunged the nation into economic recession, while pushing a return to normalcy as the key to an economic rebound. 

The convention reflected some of that reality, with a split between in-person and virtual events.  The second half of the convention will be virtual, and guests will speak mostly from Washington, D.C.

Republican leaders in Colorado said they hoped the hybrid structure would still convey enough political energy to buoy their chances in the state, which hasn’t voted for a Republican candidate for president since 2004 and which Trump lost by 5 percentage points in 2016.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the Colorado Republican Party chairman, acknowledged the pandemic would impact races and the party’s outlook for November, just as it has affected the convention. 

“It will make for a different campaign, and it’s going to be very interesting what side benefits from that,” Buck, who lives in Windsor, said in an interview before leaving Charlotte, where the first day of the convention took place. “But it’s definitely less in-person campaigning this year than in the past.” 

The state party decided which six attendees to send based on who needed to be there the most because they served on party committees, and that disappointed some delegates. Republicans had earlier proposed moving part of the convention to Jacksonville, Florida, but a spike in cases in the state pushed the party to cancel. 

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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