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Election 2018

Douglas County caucuses: 'It's important everybody's involved in this'

After the March 6 caucuses, next step is party assemblies


Zoe Wilson was the youngest person at a Democratic caucus at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch. The 18-year-old wants to see Cary Kennedy win the governor's race this November, she said, standing in the cafeteria with about 40 other residents.

“She seems to really check off all the (bullet points) and I want to see another woman run,” said Wilson, a bubbly senior at the high school.

Gage Cook, 12, attended a Republican caucus at Chaparral High School in Parker in support of his father, who is a district captain.

“I do want to know more about the tariff on solar panels,” Cook said. “But mostly I think I'm going to hear a lot of politics, politics, politics, some liberal talk, more politics and I'm really hoping there will be cookies.”

For various reasons, residents attended caucuses across Douglas County and Colorado the evening of March 6.

They gathered at community areas such as libraries, churches and schools to select delegates to send to party assemblies on March 24. At the assemblies, delegates will help decide which candidates will be on the primary ballot for county, regional, state and national offices — ranging from sheriff to Congress. The primary election this June will narrow down the field to one candidate per party who will compete in the November general election.

Some caucus-goers said they felt it was necessary to be involved on the most basic level, which was in their own backyard. Others wanted to learn more about the process or voice their opinions on candidates.

Stacey G., who would like her name withheld for professional reasons, was seated alone at a table at Rock Canyon. At the caucus prior to the presidential election in 2016, she recalls about 30 people around her precinct's table.

Not enough people are participating where it counts, she said.

“They are marching and on Facebook complaining and saying how much they want things to change, but they won't show up to a caucus because they don't understand the system,” she said.

Republican precinct captain Jeff Rudolph has been attending caucuses since 1988 and said he feels strongly about the process. He tries to get others to understand the importance of the caucus.

“It's important everybody's involved in this. This is the most direct impact you can have on a local level,” said Rudolph. “This is where all the delegates are decided. But since it's an off year, we won't get a huge turnout. Which is disappointing.”

Caucuses also provide an opportunity for residents to meet their neighbors and discuss local, statewide and national issues. Precincts are decided by the physical boundaries of an area.

Democrat Katharine Knarreborg, 32, sat across the table from Gail Frances, 72. The two agreed on funding public education with public dollars and ensuring women's healthcare.

Knarreborg strongly supports healthcare for all, she said.

“I think it's embarrassing for our country that health insurance isn't something that everyone can have and afford,” said Knarreborg.

At Chaparral's caucus, Heidi Cook voiced concerns about issues involving schools.

“I'm a teacher, so I'm heavily invested in what's happening with education,” said Cook, 51. “This caucus is ground floor, where early decisions are made. If you're not willing to get involved on the ground floor, then you can't complain. The issues are decided here, not just the candidates.”


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