Saturday, September 26, 2015

Colorado Republicans Solidify March 1 Date for 2016 Caucuses

The Colorado Republican Party State Central Committee met on Saturday, September 26, and the party's delegate selection rules for the 2016 cycle were on the agenda. This meeting came after an Executive Committee meeting last month that removed the straw poll from the first step of the caucus/convention process that will select delegates to represent the party at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next July.

The move was unanimously made in August to maintain the Colorado Republican Party practice of sending an unbound delegation to the national convention. It also freed the party decision-makers to potentially shift the date of the caucuses -- sans presidential preference vote -- to the first Tuesday in February date allowed by state law while also avoiding any sanction from the Republican National Committee. The rationale was "no preference vote, early caucuses, no penalty".

But on Saturday, there was very little appetite for February caucuses among the members of the State Central Committee meeting when the issue was raised.

What was more interesting -- especially in view of the fact that there was some backlash to the ending of the caucus preference vote -- was that that issue did not come up at all at the State Central Committee meeting following the unanimous Executive Committee decision a month ago. That means that the caucus/convention process for Republicans in the Centennial state will begin on March 1 along with their Democratic counterparts in the state. However, while Democrats will have a binding preference vote, Colorado Republicans will not.

The binding situation, then, is settled, or so it would seem. But it does not look as if Colorado Republicans will be able/allowed to send an unbound delegation to the national convention based on how the RNC is interpreting its rules. Correspondence between the national party and Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House indicates that the RNC is treating a state convention as a point of no return. The party can skip the straw poll for only so long in other words. Once the process reaches the national convention delegate selection/election stage those delegates will be bound and by a method of the state party's choosing (winner-take-all, proportional, etc.). What those rules will be remains to be seen.

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