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Colorado GOP Delegation Is More Diverse And Divisive

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Solomon Martinez talks with CBS4's Shaun Boyd (credit: CBS)

Solomon Martinez talks with CBS4′s Shaun Boyd (credit: CBS)

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBS4) – Colorado’s GOP delegation is an example of how the party says it’s changing. CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd has been following the delegation in Tampa during the Republican National Convention.

Like the Republican Party, Colorado’s delegation is more diverse and more divisive. One-third is women, three-quarters are Tea Partiers or Libertarians, and half are new to politics.

At the convention the Colorado delegation stands out. Not just because of the cowboy hats, but the 36 delegates reflect a party in transition.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll get 35 to 40 percent of the Latino vote in Colorado,” Colorado delegate Solomon Martinez said.

It’s Martinez’s first convention. Born and raised in Colorado, he represents a Latino voting block that’s growing exponentially. They voted for President Obama 2-to-1 in 2008 and make up at least 14 percent of the Colorado electorate.

While Obama has appealed to Latinos on immigration, Martinez insists that’s not what’s driving their vote.

“I think that Latinos are more concerned with the economy, high unemployment, losing their homes, poverty,” Martinez said.

While Latinos still represent a small number — only five of Colorado’s delegates, women are another story.

“Women are making time and making it important to belong to this party,” Colorado delegate Lori Horn said.

Horn is one of 13 female delegates from Colorado. She represents Arapahoe County, maybe one of the biggest swing counties in the state. She says female support for Romney is building.

“It’s about gas and groceries,” Horn said.

The changing dynamic of the party is also evident in Colorado delegates like Luke Horn, a 21-year-old Republican. Voters under the age of 30 are overwhelmingly Democrats, but they also tend to be apathetic.

“Something that Obama did really well in 2008 is waking up the young vote,” he said.

Four years later he insists that the young vote feels let down.

“So he woke them up with hope and change. It’s our responsibility to in turn wake them up and realize, what is true hope, what is true change?” he said.

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