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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

Colorado’s GOP county assemblies proved the party belongs to the fringe

A few weeks ago I wrote that Republicans attempting to bar unaffiliated voters from participating in their primary elections were not the fringe of the party, but represent a substantial portion — possibly an outright majority — of the current Colorado GOP.

As if on cue, county assemblies across the state worked hard to prove me right last weekend. From botched delegate counts to rabble rousers beating incumbents to a violent felon all but assuring himself a seat under the Capitol dome, the weekend was nothing if not entertaining.

Assemblies are the culmination of Colorado’s byzantine ballot access process. It begins in late February or early March in election years with caucuses. These are gatherings of a party’s most politically engaged members in local venues across the state. Attendance frequently moves in direct proportion to the political ax being ground.

From those attendees, delegates to various assemblies — county, congressional and state — are elected. A few weeks later, those delegates gather at the assemblies and vote to determine which candidates will be placed on the party primary ballot in June.

The process is complex, it is easily manipulated and it is the reason we get some jaw-dropping results every election cycle.

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