Summit County caucuses select delegates for county and state assemblies |

Summit County caucuses select delegates for county and state assemblies

Summit County Democrats and visitors gather at Summit Middle School in Frisco for the 2020 nonpresidential primary caucus.
Courtesy Pam Bradley

FRISCO — The Summit County Democratic and Republican parties gathered separately Saturday for the nonpresidential primary caucuses to assign delegates, propose party platforms and select precinct organizers.

Despite the fear of the novel coronavirus, which emerged in Summit County prior to the weekend, and the fact that this was a nonpresidential primary caucus, organizers were pleased with the turnout of community members who wanted to get involved in local and state politics.

“Considering the request for people over 60 to not come to crowds, we had a good turnout,” Summit County Democrats Chairwoman Patricia McLaughlin said, adding that the caucus had 94 attendees. “One of the things that I was excited about was that we had a good number of younger voters present and new people — people that hadn’t participated before.”

The Democratic Party assigned 56 delegates to represent Senate candidates: 37 to Andrew Romanoff, 14 to John Hickenlooper, three to Erik Underwood, one to Trish Zornio and none to Stephany Rose Spaulding. One delegate was uncommitted. 

On April 18, there will be a state convention that will consider the five Senate candidates. These candidates, as well as others who are on the ballot through petitions rather than the caucus process, will be voted on in the nonpresidential primary election June 30. 

McLaughlin said there was a lot of enthusiasm during the caucus process and energetic discussions at caucus tables. She also said there were several young people who wanted to be precinct organizers.

“One of the things that really excited me was the fact that we had young people wanting to be (precinct organizers),” McLaughlin said.

Precinct volunteers will be officially selected at the county assembly March 25. According to McLaughlin, one of the most important roles for a precinct organizer is to serve on the vacancy committee, which votes to replace an elected official if they leave office before their term ends. That is how Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence was appointed to fill the District 1 sear after Dan Gibbs resigned. 

As for county commissioners, McLaughlin said the Democratic Party will nominate its picks at the county assembly. The party is only aware of four candidates who have publicly announced their intent to run for commissioner positions: Democrats Lawrence (the incumbent), Julie Sutor and Josh Blanchard. Bruce Butler is running as an independent candidate.

On the Republican side, Summit County Republicans Chairman Mike Tabb reported that there were 24 people at the caucus.

“It was very smooth,” Tabb said. “Turnout was light. I kind of expected that given that we don’t have quite the hot topic on the Senate side.”

Tabb said the primary objective of the meeting was to recruit precinct captains for each of the 20 precincts and to elect delegates to the Republican county assembly March 26. He said the Republican Party doesn’t have a specific number of delegates for the county assembly and doesn’t assign delegates to candidates. 

Tabb said the delegates will vote at the multicounty assemblies for candidates for Senate District 8, Colorado House District 61 and the 2nd Congressional District.

While most of the county commissioner candidates who have announced that they’re running for office are Democrats, Tabb said there’s still time for new candidates to file and that he is hopeful there will be a Republican candidate. If there isn’t a Republican candidate, Tabb said the Summit County Republicans might support an unaffiliated candidate like Butler, who would be aligned with the party’s conservative values.

“If we don’t have a Republican running, we very much like his focus on local issues and being prudent with our spending, which we don’t think the commission has been in recent years,” Tabb said.

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