Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump won’t win much respect from the Teller County Commissioners.
In fact, if local leaders have a message for the great “Donald” it would probably be: “Get your ground-game together and follow the rules.”
Last week, Teller County Commissioner Dave Paul strongly defended the system the state GOP Party uses to select delegates and to make presidential picks and threw a slight jab at Trump without mentioning his name.
Recently, the GOP state assembly process has come under serious attack by Trump who has referred to the arrangement as corrupt and part of a good ol’ boy system that disenfranchises the voters. Trump called the process “a rigged, disgusting dirty system,” and hinted that he may sue certain Republican leaders. He has showed no signs of letting up from his attack against the Colorado GOP Party selection process of a presidential nominee and the Republican National Committee.
Some of his concerns have been echoed by other critics, with a new plan to turn Colorado from a caucus state into one that features an elected presidential primary. A bill may soon be introduced by two Democratic lawmakers.
At issue is the fact that the state GOP Party, unlike the Democrats, chose not to conduct presidential preference tallies at their regular caucus meetings on March 1. And even the Democratic caucuses suffered from reports of much chaos, with long lines and standing-room-only crowds in small rooms not equipped for the forums.
During the recent state GOP assembly in Colorado Springs, GOP delegates threw their entire support behind Texas Senator Ted Cruz for president, a development that has outraged Trump and his supporters. However, supporters of Cruz have a counter message to Trump: get over it and quit acting like a sore loser.
During last week’s regular meeting, the Teller commissioners appeared to side with the Cruz camp in this fight, indicating that even though the process in Colorado may be a little complicated, it works. “There was a convoluted methodology to this,” said Paul, who attended a variety of county and state party assemblies and conventions in the last few weeks. Many of these sessions were also attended by his fellow peers, Marc Dettenrieder and Norm Steen, who agreed with the sentiments of Paul.
Paul noted that during the March caucuses, delegates were selected who basically made it clear the candidate they supported for president. “We indicated who we were going to vote for,” said Paul, in regards to Teller’s allotment of three delegates at the state assembly. “It is a complex system,” admitted Paul. However, the commissioner, who has strong ties with the GOP, maintained that the system works and is a good way to get people involved at the grass-roots level.
In addition, the commissioner explained that all the presidential candidates and their supporters knew the state Republican rules well in advance.
Still, this process has come under scrutiny. Many GOP caucus-goers throughout Colorado complained about the decision by party leaders not to hold presidential preference votes among people who attended these meetings. The reasoning behind this decision is that party leaders didn’t want to bind delegates to a particular presidential candidate early in the process. This belief stems from the state GOP’s pick of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum for president four years ago. Santorum gained much support from GOP caucus-goers, but his campaign lost momentum shortly after this vote. Party leaders contend that Colorado, regarded as a key state among presidential candidates, lost much political clout as a result of its GOP caucus pick.
If they wanted more publicity, the Republican leaders in Colorado have gotten their wish. In the last week, the state GOP’s way of picking a presidential nominee has commanded main stage attention on cable television networks and through social media postings.
Even head Democratic leaders have gotten into the act. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has called the caucus system chaotic and too confusing. Plus, state leaders complain that the final allotment of delegates depends on who shows up at certain assemblies and conventions.
A bill is currently proposed that would move the state to a presidential primary elections in 2020, while still keeping the caucus system alive for state and county races.