Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Colorado GOP "Much More Inclined" to Leave Caucuses in March, but Keep February "Door Open"

Colorado Republican Party chairman, Ryan Call, brought attention to the Centennial state's 2012 delegate selection last week by suggesting that the party is considering using a provision of state election law to shift next year's presidential precinct caucuses up to the first Tuesday in February. While that option is on the table and legal, though in violation of Republican National Committee rules, Call, in a follow up with Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post, indicated that the new first Tuesday in March Colorado caucus date is still more likely.

"We are much more inclined to keep it in March out of deference to the tremendous amount of work that the county clerks would have to do to be ready for a February caucus," Call said. "But I also think we'd be doing the voters of Colorado a disservice if we didn't at least keep the door open."

Call said he wants to guard against a scenario in which the nominee for president is a done deal by the time Colorado's caucus rolls around.

Keeping the option open is one thing, but Colorado Republicans are running out of time if they are going to make a decision before October 1. [A decision from the Colorado State Central Committee meeting in September (date TBD).] What's more, the optics of the Republican nomination race -- in other words whether the nomination will be competitive up to a March 6 Colorado caucus -- are not likely to be any clearer then than they are now. That is, unless Romney, say, wins the Ames Straw poll and somehow appears inevitable or if Rick Perry jumps in -- or another candidate already in the race -- and quickly establishes himself (or herself) as a dominant frontrunner. That picture just does not seem to be heading toward a clear resolution in Colorado Republicans' timeframe.

Now, whether that means that March 6 is as close to a done deal for the state party is an open question. This is politics, after all, and much can change.

UPDATE: In a Denver Post op/ed piece, Chairman Call is also reported to have said:
Ryan Call, the Colorado GOP chairman, told us there is only an "outside chance" state Republicans would move their caucus from March 6 to Feb. 7, and would only do so if Iowa and some other states were to schedule primaries "at Christmas time."
Again, if the timeframe for a decision on the caucus from Colorado Republicans is the next State Central Committee meeting, then it very likely won't be totally clear if Iowa and other states are in December. At this point, there seems to be enough room even with a January 31 Arizona primary to fit the early four states and Florida into January. It may be compressed, but all those states can fit, though it may not be the most advantageous position for those states.

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