Drive-through voting a first for Moffat County Republican Party
Saturday was supposed to be the County Assembly for Republicans, but COVID-19 concerns forced a historic change
The Moffat County Republican Party assembly took on a different look Saturday afternoon.
Public health orders to limit meetings to 10 people or less amid COVID-19 concerns threw a wrench into the Republican party’s annual county assembly plans, but thanks to a change in state legislature and delegate flexibility, the Moffat County Republican Party pulled off a historic first for the area, holding a drive-through county assembly Saturday afternoon at Craig Middle School.
According to Moffat County Republican Party Chairman Doug Winters, all 76 delegates that were selected at the March 7 caucus showed up to vote Saturday.
District 57 representative Perry Will also showed up to support local Republicans Saturday, as did Republican Debra Irvine, who is running against Senator Bob Rankin in District 8.
“There were different platforms to hold voting that we looked at,” Winters said. “Weld County had something set up that we took a look at, and we felt it would work best for us. We felt the drive-through assembly was the best way for us to be as close to a county assembly as possible.
“It worked wonderfully today,” Winters added. “We received a lot of positive comments. Obviously, we still like the traditional method, but this worked out beautifully. Everyone was safe, wore latex gloves, and were mindful of social distancing. The delegates stayed in their vehicles and voted, so we really stressed maintaining social distancing.”
In District 1, incumbent County Commissioner Don Cook received 22 votes, which fell one short of the necessary 23 votes to hold a spot on the primary ballot in late June. Current City Councilor Tony Bohrer, who is running against Cook in District 1, earned 54 votes, pushing him onto the ballot for the primary.
While the number of votes Bohrer received Saturday was pleasing to him, he was more impressed with the turnout and the overall job the Republican Party did in holding the drive-through assembly.
“I thought the Republican Executive Committee and Doug Winters did a great job with the adversity they had to go through,” Bohrer said. “Doing something that they’ve never done before, which had never been done, and pulling it off without any hiccups the way they did was impressive; that was pretty cool.
“It was definitely different than what we’ve ever done or experienced; it was different but good,” Bohrer added. “I’d rather get to speak in front of everybody and tell them why you’re running and all those things. We didn’t get to do that this time, but I definitely felt like it was without flaw today.”
Bohrer will be on the only Republican or Democrat to appear on the primary ballot in late June for the District 1 seat. According to Winters, unaffiliated candidates can still be on the election ballot through petition. Major party candidates are only allowed to be write-in candidates as of now.
In District 2, former County Commissioner Chuck Grobe received 40 votes, while Melody Villard received 35 votes. One delegate abstained in District 2’s voting. Grobe and Villard are running to fill Commissioner Ray Beck’s seat.
“It was very different,” Grobe said. “I just wanted to be out there if anyone had any questions or had any comments. I thought it was important for me to be out there to make that possible.
“It was really smooth today despite being something new,” Grobe added. “People drove through, picked up a ballot, and voted. It was great…and then it started snowing at the end.”
With both receiving enough votes to land on the primary ballot in late June, the pair will continue to hit the campaign trail leading up to the primaries.
“The next steps for me is just to continue to reach out to people and start to ramp up the campaign now that I’m on the primary ballot,” Villard said. “I want to share my thoughts with people, and really listen to what voters are looking for.”
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