Record Turnouts at Caucuses, Younger Voters Show Up
Record voter turnout, long lines, and a last minute venue change at the Lake County Democratic Central Committee (LCDCC) Caucus did not deter 226 local Democrats from making their voices heard in the Super Tuesday political process in Leadville.
“We didn’t anticipate the voter turnout,” stated LCDCC Chair Brad Littlepage, “but at least we did have the overflow option in place,” he added, explaining the last minute venue change from the Elks Lodge to Lake County High School.
Lake County Democrats were encouraged to arrive early on Super Tuesday to assure they would be registered by 7 p.m. in order to participate in the process. However, by 6:15 p.m. as check-in lines began to grow, weaving in and out of the Elks Lodge, it was clear that Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders had successfully pushed out the younger vote in Lake County. Sanders t-shirts, signs and buttons dominated the political flair.
But by 6:45 as the Tuesday night BINGO crowd started to file into the ballroom melding with Caucus goers waiting in line to register, it was determined that the Elks Lodge could not hold the burgeoning group of Democrats. LCDCC Chairman Littlepage made the call, and announced that the Caucus would be moved up to the high school.
“Last Friday when the reports of strong caucus attendance numbers kept coming in, I figured I’d better have an overflow plan, so I called the high school and made arrangements,” stated Littlepage.
It’s also important to note that LCDCC members did their best to accommodate those registered voters who primarily showed up to have their presidential straw poll voted tallied and weren’t necessarily interested in participating in the local Caucus.
Here’s how Lake County precincts reported: LINK.
Clearly Sanders message was well received and supported in Lake County, mimicking the state’s conclusion as well, as the Vermont Senator defeated former Secretary of State and U. S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in Colorado’s Democratic presidential Caucuses.
By 7:45 p.m. the Caucus was fully underway, with all of the precincts meeting and filling delegate and alternate seats for the upcoming assembly on March 19. While the candidate line-up for the two seats open on Board of County Commissioners remains status quo, there was a significant shift noted by Chairman Littlepage.
“The old guard was voted out and the new guard was voted in (at the precinct representation level),” stated Littlepage. For readers who may be unfamiliar, the six precincts that make up LCDCC choose representatives to attend the regular Democratic monthly meetings to stay informed on local issues and candidates.
Ultimately this “change of guard” supports other trends in Lake County, as a cycle of new ideas and representation continues to turn the tide in Leadville.
Next up for the LCDCC is the county assembly which will take place Saturday, March 19 up at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. For questions and answers, contact Brad Littlepage, Lake County Democratic Central Committee Chairman. 719-486-3488.
Republicans Hold Caucus: No Vote, No Candidates
Meanwhile across town the Lake County Republicans (LCR) gathered a hearty group at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. There were approximately 100 local members of the Grand Old Party (GOP) in attendance, according to Rhonda Huggins, LCR secretary. And if there’s a common thread to be woven between the two political partys’ gatherings on Super Tuesday, it’s that both saw an increase in younger voter turnout.
“We saw some younger folks take on leadership roles in precincts,” stated Huggins in an interview with Leadville Today. Which is good, she added because the local party is in jeopardy, if new leadership doesn’t step up. Huggins has been the LCR secretary for decades, and mentioned that the LCR have plans to reorganize their structure in January 2017.
While LCR Caucus attendance was high, the agenda was short, as the start party’s decision to cancel its presidential straw poll, combined with a lack of local party candidates for the two open Lake County Commissioner seats, left little official LCR business to conduct.
However, local delegates and alternates for the county convention were filled, according to Huggins. That next step in the process – the Lake County Republicans Assembly – will be held Saturday, March 12, starting at 10 a.m. up at CMC, Room 403. For information on the Lake County Republicans, please contact LCR Chair Betty Benson at 719-486-5454 or email@example.com.
Sen. Donovan’s Public Lands Bill Lives, Moves On
From the Office of Sen. Kerry Donovan
After spirited debate on the floor of the Colorado State Senate, Sen. Kerry Donovan’s bill to honor the impact public lands have on our economy and the Colorado way of life passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support.
After SB16-021 was amended to declare the third Saturday of May as “Public Lands Day” in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee, the bill passed out of committee unanimously. The bill was heard on second reading yesterday, and passed out of the Senate on third and final reading today. The bill now heads to the House.
“Celebrating our beautiful public lands is an idea everyone can get behind, and I am very pleased the Senate was able to come together in a bipartisan manner to reaffirm this idea,” said Senator Donovan, who represents Lake County at the State Capitol.
“Our public lands are integral to our identity as a state, our economy, and our way of life. By setting aside a special day to honor them, we are championing the democratic idea that access to our beautiful lands should remain protected for all Coloradans, and for generations to come.”