Editorial Writer Response


Pete, we appreciate your letter and your obvious passion about the party caucus and assembly system in Teller County and Colorado . It’s not our intent to steal any of the thunder from your letter, but some definite misconceptions have developed here, including my role as a non-voter.

Please rest assured: I and other writers and photographers from The Mountain Jackpot (TMJ) have frequently covered these grand caucus/assembly occasions and surely understand the process. But the caucus system, in my opinion, is completely outdated, and is a subject of much controversy throughout the state, and not just in the pages of TMJ.

This is not to take anything away from the candidates who go through the process and meet with the party leaders and garner the votes of the delegates. They deserve a pat on the back.

The complaint of a good ol’ boys and girls club is not something I came up with. That is a prevailing local perception of a caucus/assembly system that disenfranchises many voters, with county elections now determined by 100 people. That’s not just the Teller Republicans’ fault, as the major problem deals with the changing political dynamics in the county, with limited participation by Democrats and even Independents

As a result, the Teller Republicans need to consider a few changes to encourage more competitive elections. Simply alter the process a little, have more delegates or alter the timing of the caucuses and assemblies so the door will be open more for people to petition their way onto the ballot. You just completed another breath-taking assembly, culminating with six candidates for six key seats. How can you be satisfied with that result? And as I mentioned in an e-mail I sent to you, I am definitely a registered voter and have been for years. (I provided you with more details on that, if you want to check them out.) I recently participated in the city elections in Green Mountain Falls . Sure, our community has gained a little notoriety for nutty meetings, temper displays and much more, but we have competitive elections.

I know that is probably not the best comparison due to these elections being non-partisan affairs.

But two years ago, a slew of candidates were in the running for the Teller County District Three County Commissioner seat, currently held by Norm Steen. But the end result under the Republican good ol’ boy guidelines: no primary election. This isn’t to knock Norm, as he is doing a great job as county commissioner. But it definitely highlights a basic problem. People can’t really run for county offices unless they are endorsed by GOP party insiders.

Many people in this county aren’t happy with an antiquated caucus system that many are completely baffled by. You need to talk with more people outside of the Republican Party head leadership circle.
And since you quote Don Henley, you must have some knowledge of pop/rock music and the infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; an institution that favors insider voting under the guise of representing the fans. In the next week or so, the Hall will do a ceremony honoring its newest class of six anointed inductees and winners, from a field of 16 nominees. But only one small problem here: About half of these winners hardly garnered any votes during the so-called democratic voting poll done by fans that support the institution, or they ended up close to the cellar positions. Meanwhile, some of the other deserving bands, who finished in the top four in the public voting, got the royal snub.

This has raised quite a furor among music fans who are crying foul over obvious good ol’ boy insider antics. (Just ask the fans of such bands as Yes and Deep Purple what they think about the Hall’s so-called democratic selection process.)

Unless the Teller Republican leaders make some adjustments and tweak an ancient caucus system, the county’s GOP Assembly could be viewed as the next Hall of Shame.

Rick Langenberg