Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Most Routt County Democrats would like to see Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar in the U.S. Senate and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the White House.
Republicans and Democrats held caucuses Tuesday in homes scattered throughout Routt County's 20 voting precincts. The precinct-level caucuses are the most basic way for people to become involved in the political process and have an impact on what candidates and issues appear on their party's platform.
The results from the Routt County Republicans' caucus have not been tabulated but should be available Friday, said Routt County Republicans Committee Chairman Harmon "Buck" Buckland.
For the Routt County Democratic Party, 115 people from all 20 precincts participated in Tuesday's caucuses, said Routt County Democratic Party Chairman Ken Brenner. That is a good attendance record, Brenner said.
Of those 115 participants, 94 voted for Kerry as the best choice for a Democratic presidential candidate, 13 voted for Dennis Kucinich, one voted for Howard Dean, and one voted for Wesley Clark. Six voters were undecided. Dean and Clark have dropped out of the presidential race.
Many voted for Kerry because they think he has the best shot at winning the presidential election, Brenner said. The same goes for Salazar, who received 96 votes compared with 12 for Mike Miles and seven undecided votes.
"I think a lot of people like Mike," Brenner said. "Personally, I like Mike because he's a strong candidate. But a lot of people wanted to choose the candidate they thought would win. I haven't met a person here that didn't like Mike Miles and where he stands on the issues. I definitely think he has a future here."
"Salazar, for many people, seems very electable," said Routt County Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Diane Mitsch Bush. "He is just so recognized."
As attorney general, Salazar filed and won a lawsuit against Republican Secretary of State Donetta Davidson to prevent her from putting a redistricting map into effect. The map likely would have helped keep the Republican hold on five of Colorado's seven congressional seats.
"(Salazar is) a moderate, and he comes from a rural background, and a lot of people can identify with that," Brenner said.
Routt County's 20 precincts had about an average of six people attending each caucus. Besides selecting candidates, issues discussed included support for veterans, the Middle East, agriculture preservation, multi-modal transportation and alternative energy, said Mitsch Bush, who spent a great deal of time organizing the caucuses and e-mailing Routt County Democrats about the meeting times and places.
The issues were presented as resolutions, which will be put together by the Routt County Democrats' Platform Committee and presented at the county assembly at 3 p.m. May 1 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. From there, 22 delegates will be sent to the Democratic state caucus in Pueblo.
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