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What is with all the Political Events – What is Going on?



I presented some of this information at our January 9, 2024 DCRCC meeting.  Because there are so many dates and details involved, I am putting it into a blog as well.  I hope this will help in understanding what all the upcoming political activities are about and why they are happening.


This is a presidential election year and there are many offices and issues that are going to be on the ballot in the general election.  As part of our political process there are many steps and elections that are involved.  It can be confusing.  I’ll go through the various events that are part of our political process, based on when they occur on the calendar.  The first political event of the year in this process for us in Delta County is the Presidential Primary Election.  Note that candidates are discussed in the second half of the blog.


Presidential Primary Election – scheduled by the Governor for Tuesday, March 5, 2024. The Colorado Presidential Primary was created by Proposition 107 in 2016 (the same proposition that allowed Unaffiliated voters to vote in the presidential primary for the two major political parties.)  The results of the Presidential Primary are used by the party delegates to determine who to support at the National Convention (see below).  An interesting sidenote on this year’s Presidential Primary, if Donald Trump is removed from the primary ballot in the upcoming Supreme Court decision, the Colorado Republican Party has stated they will elect their presidential candidate through the caucus and assembly system.


Delta County Caucuses – Thursday, March 7, 2024 at four locations in Delta County.  We elect precinct leaders and delegates to the county, state and district assemblies at the caucuses.  This is a major component of our political process.  It is critical if you want to be involved in electing the candidates that will be placed on the general state primary ballot.  Several things happen at the caucus.  First, two precinct leaders are elected for each precinct.  These leaders are called precinct committee persons or PCPs.  The elected PCPs will serve for that precinct for the next two years and they become members of the County Central Committee.  The County Central Committee runs the party in Delta County.  These PCPs have voting rights at the Central Committee meetings.  Second, we elect delegates to attend the County Assembly and the other higher assemblies that are involved in selecting our candidates.  The allocation of delegates to these higher assemblies is based on voter turnout in the last even year election -in this case 2022.  Thirdly, caucus attendees can propose planks for the Colorado GOP platform.  These planks that are passed are forwarded and considered at the County and State assemblies.  Note that while the caucuses are open to the public to observe, only registered voters affiliated with that party may participate and be elected as a delegate to the higher assemblies.


Delta County Assembly – Saturday, March 23, 2024.  There are 200 delegates and 200 alternates that can attend the County Assembly.  These delegates and alternates are elected at the County Caucuses, on March 7, 2024 (see above.)  The delegates will vote on candidates for county offices, such as the county commissioners, to go on the Colorado General Primary ballot (this primary election is Tuesday, June 25, 2024, see below).  In addition, there are delegates who are elected to go to the State Assembly/Convention and the other District Assemblies.  These delegates for the State and other District Assemblies are ratified at the County Assembly.  The County Assembly is open to the public to observe, but only delegates are allowed to speak and vote.


SD5 Assembly – Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Montrose, CO.  This district assembly is held to elect the Republican candidate for the Colorado State Senate in District 5.  Precincts 1-10 and 15-20 are in SD5; Precincts 11-14 are in SD7 (which does not have an election this year; Janice Rich (R) is the incumbent senator in SD7).  Currently Perry Will (R) is the incumbent in SD5.  The 142 delegates who will participate will be elected at the individual precinct caucuses and/or the county assemblies of the 7 counties that make up SD5 (Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose and Pitkin Counties.)  Delta County has been allocated 29 delegates.  If there are multiple candidates, candidates must receive at least 30% of the delegates’ votes to make it on to the Colorado Primary ballot (this primary election is Tuesday, June 25, 2024.)  Candidates can also petition to get on the primary election ballot, so there may be more candidates on the primary ballot, than are elected at the District Assemblies.  However, the Colorado State GOP passed a new bylaw, last year, saying candidates who petition to get on the primary ballot and do not go through the caucus/assembly system are not eligible for pre-primary neutrality.  In other words, the party can speak against these candidates before the primary.  Prior to this bylaw change, the party was required to remain neutral on all candidates prior to the primary.


HD54 Assembly – The date has not been officially set but possibly Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Grand Junction, CO.   Precincts 1-14 are in HD54.  This assembly is held to elect the Republican candidate for the Colorado State House in District 54.  Currently Matt Soper (R) is the incumbent.  The rules are similar to those described for SD5.  There are 97 delegates allocated for Delta and Mesa counties, Delta County has 28 delegates.

  

HD58 Assembly – The date and location have not been officially set but possibly Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Montrose CO or Friday April 5, 2024 in Pueblo, CO.  Precincts 15-20 are in HD58.  This assembly is held to elect the Republican candidate for the Colorado State House in District 58.  Currently Marc Catlin (R) is the incumbent.  However Representative Catlin is term-limited.  The rules are similar to those described for SD5 and HD54.  There are 106 delegates allocated from the 8 counties in HD 58 (Delta, Dolores, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties.)  Delta has 12 delegates.  The candidates for this race are listed below.


CD3 Assembly –Friday, April 5, 2024 in Pueblo, Colorado.  This assembly is held to elect the Republican candidate for the United States Congress for Congressional District 3.  Currently Lauren Bobert (R) is the incumbent.  There are 616 delegates allocated to the 27 counties that make up CD3.  Delta has 36 delegates.  Similar to the rules for SD5, if there are multiple candidates for each party, candidates with at least 30% of the delegates’ votes, those candidates’ names will go on the Colorado Primary ballot (this primary election is Tuesday, June 25, 2024).  Candidates can also petition to get on the primary election ballot, so there may be more candidates on the primary ballot, than are elected at the District Assemblies.  The candidates for this race will be listed below.


JD7 Assembly - Possibly Friday, April 5, 2024 in Pueblo, Colorado.  This assembly is held to elect the Republican candidate for District Attorney in the 7th Judicial District. There are six counties in the 7th District (Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties.)  The office is in Montrose.  I have not received the delegate allocation for this assembly.  The incumbent is Seth Ryan (R).


Colorado State Assembly and Convention – Saturday April 6, 2024 in Pueblo, Colorado.  This assembly is held to elect the Republican candidates for various state-wide offices, such as governor, secretary of state, United States Senator, etc.  This year, there are not many state-wide offices on the ballot – candidates for State Board of Education and the CU Board of Regents.  The state National Committee Man and Woman are also elected, and the delegates that will go to the Republican National Convention.  These delegates will then support the candidate that received the most votes in the Presidential Primary election at the Republican National Convention   Finally, resolutions that will become the part platform for the Colorado GOP are also approved.  There are 3,502 delegates that have been allocated to the State Assembly.  Delta County has been allocated 36 delegates.  The 2024 Republican Convention is scheduled for July 15-18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, see below.  The National Convention is where the Republican candidate for the presidential election on November 5, 2024 will actually be selected.


Colorado State Primary – Tuesday June 25, 2024.  This statewide election is overseen by the Colorado Secretary of State with each county holding its own election.  The election is by mail-in ballots, unless the voter chooses to vote in person.  Ballots are generally mailed out two weeks before the election, but no later than one week before.  The election is conducted for the two major political parties, with each party having its own ballot with the candidates that qualified by nomination at the assemblies or by petitioning on.  The names of the winners of this election will be placed on the ballot of the General Election, see below.  Unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in either the Democrat or Republican primary but not both.  This was made legal in 2016 through Proposition 108.  Proposition 108 remains controversial, and the Colorado GOP has filed a lawsuit to overturn it.


Republican National Convention – Scheduled for July 18-20, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The Republican candidates for president and vice-president are nominated at this convention.  The convention is a culmination of the caucuses and primaries that are held state by state.  The delegates to the national convention who were elected at the state assemblies, vote for the candidate that they were elected to support.  If balloting goes on for several rounds, the delegates may change their support to a different candidate.  This has been fairly straight-forward in recent conventions but in the past, there were many rounds of voting and considerable negotiations in selecting a candidate.


Colorado General Election – November 5, 2024.  This election is also a statewide election overseen by the Colorado Secretary of State with each county holding its own election.  This election is the culmination of all the previous activities that I’ve discussed.  The election is by mail-in ballots, unless the voter chooses to vote in person.  Ballots are generally mailed out three weeks before the election, but no later than one week before.  The candidates and the various offices that will be on the ballot are discussed in the second half of this blog.


Before we get to the candidates let’s discuss municipal elections.  The municipal elections are separate from the political process discussed above.  But they can be just as important.  These elections are considered non-partisan, so the political affiliation for each candidate is not listed on the ballot and the political parties are not “officially” involved in the selection of candidates or the races.  However, these races seem to be getting increasingly political.  So, we need to be involved in these races.  We will try to make recommendations for the elections.


Municipal elections – these elections will be held Tuesday, April 2, 2024.  While these are local elections, they are still overseen by the Colorado Secretary of State.  Each municipality may conduct their own election, but the Delta County municipalities have all contracted with the County to conduct the elections.  These elections are mail-in balloting, but in-person voting is available on election day, at two locations – in Delta at the Delta Human Services Building at 320 W. 5th St. and at the North Fork Annex in Hotchkiss at 196 W. Hotchkiss Avenue.  Mail-in ballots can be returned by mail, but must be received by Election Day or they can be dropped off at one of the six 24-hour county drop-off locations (Delta County Courthouse, Paonia Town Hall, Cedaredge Library, Orchard City Town Hall, North Fork Annex and Crawford Town Hall) or at the two Voting Service and Polling Center (listed above for in-person voting.)


Obviously, this is a lot of information.  I think it is important to remember that our political processes were established by the Colorado State Legislature to implement our Republican from of government.  These statutes are listed in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) Article 1- Elections.  These statutes can be viewed at Colorado Revised Statutes | Colorado General Assembly


This information shows that there is a lot to do to maintain our system of governance.  We are so fortunate to be able to participate.  Unfortunately, many feel it is a burden and don’t even vote, let alone participate in the caucuses and assemblies where the candidates are actually selected.  It is critical that we get our Republican voters to at least participate in caucus and vote in the primary and general elections.  We need all of us to participate and help our fellow Republicans to participate.  Let’s get the word out.  I now want to move on to the candidates who could be on the ballot in 2024.


 

Who is Running in the Upcoming Elections?


Candidates are starting to emerge to fill the various offices for elective office that are important to us here in Delta County are:  County Commissioner Districts 2 and 3, HD54, HD58, SD5, JD7, CD3, State Board of Education, State Board of Regents, and President.  The current candidates for these various offices are (Note these are not necessarily the final list of candidates, they are the ones that have declared their candidacy to date):

County Commissioner District 2 – Candyce Blair (R).


County Commissioner District 3 – Incumbent Wendell Koontz (R) and challenger Steve Reed (R).


HD 54 – Incumbent Matt Soper will be running for his final two-year term.


HD 58 – Incumbent Marc Catlin is term-limited.  So far, rancher and former Delta County Commissioner Mark Roeber (R) and rancher/businessman and former Montezuma County Commissioner Larry Don Suckla have declared as Republican candidates.  Rancher/former state legislator Kathleen Curry (D) has declared her candidacy for the Democrats.  There is a rumor that Gunnison County Commissioner Johnathan Houck (D) is going to run and Kathleen Curry will be stepping aside.  I guess we’ll see what happens there.  I have invited both Mark Roeber and Larry Don Suckla to our next meeting, on February 6, 2024 and they have both accepted.  This is a great opportunity to meet and hear from these two candidates. I have encouraged both candidates to be at the church at 5:30 pm so folks can chat with them before our meeting starts.  And we plan to let Montrose and Ouray Counties know as well.  So, we will be promoting this opportunity as best we can.  Let your friends and neighbors know about this opportunity.


SD5 – Incumbent Perry Will (R); and Colin Buerger (D) and Barbara Bynum (D).


JD7 – Incumbent Seth Ryan (R).


CD3 – By now most of you have probably heard that Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is moving to CD4 (This is currently Ken Buck’s seat representing Northeast and Eastern Colorado) and running for that seat.  The other candidates who have declared for CD3 are Attorney Jeff Hurd of Grand Junction, Financial Planner Russ Andrews of Carbondale, Realtor Curtiss McCracken of Cedaredge and former State Legislator Ron Hanks of Fremont County.


Colorado State Board of Education – Four seats are open in 2024: District 3 for a two-year term (Stephen Varela (R) is the incumbent), Districts 2, 4 and 8 for six-year terms.  No candidates have declared to date.


CU Board of Regents, CD3 and At-Large Seats– There are no official candidates yet for the CD3 position on the CU Board of Regents, however, I can tell you that there will be a candidate from Delta County who is planning to run.  Our own Kris Sposato plans to announce her candidacy in February.  This is very good and exciting news.  In the At-large seat there are currently two Democrat candidates – Elliot Hood and Luis Licon.  There are no Republican candidates, at present.


President – At this time it appears that the Incumbent, President Joe Biden (D), will be the Democrat candidate; former President Donald Trump (R), Governor Ron DeSantis (R), former Governor Nikki Haley (R) are still vying for the Republican nomination.


Judges – Three Colorado Supreme Court Judges are up for election retention.  They are

Maria Berkenkotter, Brian Boatright and Monica Marquez.  Of these three judges, only one - Monica Marquez VOTED to remove Trump from the Colorado ballot.  Marquez was appointed by Bill Ritter in 2010.  Interestingly, Berkenkotter was appointed by Jared Polis in 2020 and Boatright was appointed by John Hickenlooper in 2011.  I don’t know yet what the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation will recommend on these three judges but it seems to me that a VERY BIG effort needs to go into Removing Judge Monica Marquez from the Colorado Supreme Court.


I’m not sure, at this time, what other judges in the other court systems will be on the 2024 ballot.  When we find out, we will try to make recommendations on all the judges.


In addition, there are going to be a number of issues that are going to be on the ballot.

- One initiative on the ballot would limit local governments from retaining property tax revenue above 4% growth annually without statewide voter approval.

- The Colorado State Legislature referred two constitutional amendments to the 2024 ballot. One would expand the property tax exemption for veterans with a disability and the other would create an independent judicial discipline adjudicative board and create rules for the judicial discipline process.


There are also a number of citizen initiatives that may be on the ballot, including the initiative to ban mountain lion hunting and an initiative to establish a top-four open primary system and ranked-choice voting for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices.


Municipal Races (Election on April 2, 2024.  Election packets can be picked up at the Town Halls during regular business hours and must be returned by 4:00 p.m. on January 24.)

Cedaredge - the mayor and 4 trustee seats are open.  The mayor position is for four years and the trustee seats are for 4-year Terms.

Crawford - the mayor and 3 trustee seats are open.  The mayor position is for four years and the three trustee seats are for 4-year Terms.

Delta – Three council member seats are open – District A, District B and the At-Large seat. These seats are for 4-year terms.

Hotchkiss - Three trustee seats are open. The three trustee seats are for 4-year terms.

Orchard City – the mayor and 4 trustee seats are open.  The mayor position is for four years, three trustee seats are for 4 years, one trustee seat is for a two-year term.

Paonia – the mayor and 4 trustee seats open. The mayor and three trustee seats are for 4 years, one trustee seat is for a two-year term.


There are some very good candidates running in this next election.  We need to work as hard as we can to get these good candidates elected and Judge Monica Marquez REMOVED from the Colorado Supreme Court and the bad ballot initiatives defeated.  I will be writing again on these candidates as the elections get closer.  I wrote this blog to make everyone aware of all the political processes and events and the races that are going to be on the ballot in 2024.  I hope this has been helpful.


Our next DCRCC monthly meeting is going to be on February 6, 2024 at the Surface Creek Community Church in Austin.  Remember, this is an opportunity to meet two of the candidates running for HD 58.  Mark Roeber and Larry Don Suckla will be there.  The doors will open at 5:30 pm and the meeting starts at 6:00 pm and we try to finish by 7:30 pm.    This is a great opportunity to meet these two candidates and talk to them.  We will open the doors at 5:30 to allow folks a chance to visit with the candidates before the meeting.  Hope to see you there.


David Bradford

Chairman, Delta County Republican Central Committee   


PS –Remember you can donate to the Delta County Republican Central Committee, by going to our website https://www.deltacoloradogop.com  Since we won’t have the Headquarters open for most of this year, donations are critical in helping build up our bank account so we have funds for supporting our candidates in the 2024 election.  An individual donation of $20 is a great small donation.  You can also donate in person at our monthly meeting.  Thank you! db

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