Colorado Democratic Party

Polis for Colorado

When Club 20 holds its gubernatorial debate on Sept. 8, just one of the major candidates will be there: Republican Walker Stapleton. That's triggered a different debate: How much does it matter to Colorado's Western Slope voters that Democrat Jared Polis won't be there? One local Democratic leader says it matters a great deal.

Sandra Fish for KUNC

Crowded fields -- especially in the race for governor -- narrowed considerably after Colorado's Democratic and Republican state assemblies on Saturday, April 14.

Sandra Fish for KUNC

Colorado’s precinct caucuses on March 6 may not pack quite the punch as in past years.

With many candidates in contested races choosing to petition onto the primary ballot, caucus goers will see fewer choices in the county, legislative, congressional and assembly processes.

That shift has leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties questioning the role of what are basically neighborhood get togethers in the nominations process.

Bente Birkeland

There were controversies over how parties in Colorado nominated their candidates earlier this year. Some voters felt excluded or confused by the process. Now voters have a chance to change the system. In November, a ballot issue asks if the state should switch to a presidential primary instead of a caucus where local party activists select a candidate. Another asks if local primaries should be open to unaffiliated voters. 

K. Ray-Riek / DNCC

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders handily won Colorado's caucuses. That fact was not forgotten after Hillary Clinton's speech Thursday night, accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. But four days of unity building in Philadelphia during the 2016 Democratic National Convention seemed to help.

State Rep. Jonathon Singer of Longmont, a Sanders delegate, said Clinton's biggest challenge is that many voters don't trust her. Think emails and the wounds of a long primary. Clinton will get his vote come November though, because he doesn't want Republican candidate Donald Trump to become president.

"It's not worth losing things like immigration reform and reproductive choices," Singer said.

Chris Frommann / DNCC

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia got off to a rocky start. Supporters of Bernie Sanders repeatedly booed speakers and even Sanders himself, when he urged his backers to support Hillary Clinton.

Some of the consternation came from Colorado's delegates, where Sanders won the caucuses.

"I'm a Bernie person all the way," said Cleo Dioletis, a delegate from Denver. "In my mind, I have to support a strong candidate who is ethically correct."

This week, as part of the Nation Engaged project, NPR and some member stations will be talking about what the 2016 primary season has revealed about voters' confidence in the American electoral system.

Voters unhappy with the political system this year and unsure about whether their vote matters have big complaints how the country's two main political parties choose their candidates.

Helen Dombalis / used with permission

Lawmakers in both parties have unveiled a proposal to bring a presidential primary back to Colorado. It's estimated that conducting a primary will cost anywhere from $5 to $7 million. Despite the price tag, the heads of both the state Democratic and Republican parties and Gov. John Hickenlooper support it.

We asked two reporters working at the capitol on a daily basis what that means.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Bernie Sanders will be assured the majority of Colorado's delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton though, still has momentum in the state with the support of super delegates, like Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. The support of party insiders means Clinton will likely have 37 delegates from the state versus Sanders' 41.

Which still makes it an open question for Colorado: If the state is pulling for Bernie Sanders, but the super delegates lean for Clinton, will voters opt to support Clinton if she's the nominee?

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Hillary Clinton's wins on Mega Tuesday in Ohio, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and a virtual tie in Missouri, have moved her closer to securing the Democratic Party nomination. What will that mean for Colorado, which went heavily for her opponent, Bernie Sanders? We asked Democratic State Party Chair Rick Palacio to find out.

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