DENVER (CBS4) – As a swing state, Colorado is used to feeling the love from presidential candidates. But this election, there’s little incentive for Republican campaigns to court voters here.
That’s because Republicans in Colorado aren’t voting on who the nominee should be.
When Colorado Republicans held their first presidential preference poll in 2008 they expected a big turnout at their caucuses. However, instead of the projected 10,000 Republicans who were expected, 70,000 showed up.
“Candidates came to Colorado. They campaigned here. Colorado actually had an impact on the nomination in 2008,” said Dick Wadhams, for state GOP chairman.
In 2016, Wadhams says Republicans in Colorado may have no impact on who the eventual presidential nominee is. That’s because the state party’s executive committee decided not to hold a poll when it holds its caucuses on March 1.
“There is one Western state that is having a caucus that night, and it’s Colorado. And yet we will get no attention because the candidates won’t come to Colorado. We’re not taking a vote. Nobody will be able to tell who won,” Wadhams said.
The change comes after the Republican National Committee made preference polls binding, meaning the state’s delegates are required to vote for the candidate who wins the caucus. In the past, delegates could remain uncommitted.
“If you’re going to have tens of thousands of Republicans go to their caucuses and vote, why shouldn’t our delegation reflect that vote? And if a candidate pulls out between our caucuses and the national convention, those delegates are free to go elsewhere.”
“We still have an opportunity to play a role, but if we don’t either change the decision about the preference poll at the caucuses or have a presidential primary, Colorado Republicans will essentially have no role in selecting our presidential nominee.
For now, the only way Colorado Republicans will have a say in the nominee is if no candidate emerges as the clear winner before the national convention in August. That hasn’t happened to the GOP in 40 years. If it were to take place, Colorado’s uncommitted delegates would be very significant at that point.