Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is Colorado's Caucus System Obsolete?

As a member of the Douglas County Republican Party, it is my job to support the caucus system, and the candidates that are selected by the process. However, it would seem that the caucus system is not resonating with the voters.

Consider CD-6 - The seat being vacated by Congressman Tom Tancredo (who did not go through the caucus process himself)

The CD-6 selected two candidates: Ted Harvey with ~55% of the vote, and Steve Ward ~45% - State senators both.

However, in the march towards the August 12th Primary, polls are indicating that the two candidates achieving the most success are the two who opted to petition on to the primary ballot instead of participating in the caucus process. Rocky Mountain Right has provided polling information showing the race in CD-6:

Ballot................. (Raw)..... %

Ted Harvey.........(186 ).....11.0%

Steve Ward.........(141)........8.4%

Wil Armstrong.....(548).......32.5%

Mike Coffman......(570)......33.8%


*Note - These numbers were released by the Armstrong campaign-Bruce Donisthorpe of BWD Global managed the survey

Being a member of the party in Douglas County, I often hear two sides to the argument regarding caucus and assembly. In Douglas County we love our elected Republicans - and they all support the caucus system. However, some of these elected officials petitioned on, opting out of the assembly process during their initial run. This alone resonates with the anti-assembly crowd.

The question is, then, does the caucus system give the best candidate? Do the party activists know more about who is best set to serve the people, or has it simply become a "get in line and wait your turn" process?

I was discussing this very issue with a fellow Republican party member a little over a week ago, and he was adamant that the assembly process is doing little more than wasting money of the county party. So is this true?

In a district, such as 6th congressional, where upwards of 40% of the electorate are new to the area within the last 4 years, a caucus system supports more of an "old hat" mentality - that is, those who have been involved for a number of years and are long-term activists in local politics. Petition candidates play to that 40%, introducing them to the change they represent in the area, often informing them that even though they have missed out on the local process, they still have a voice in the primary. It is this fissure that creates the divide in local politics, even though it plays to their strength with the masses.

So, are candidates that are vetted by the old hats better for the people, or do we embrace candidates that rely more on name recognition and general election campaigning - working the people - to represent our district?

With a system that seems to be providing great candidates, but little more boost than "top-billing" in the primary election, one has to wonder if the system is obsolete. Has Colorado outgrown the assembly?

We will surely see in 2 weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment