By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper is among a growing chorus of people calling for Colorado to bring back its presidential primary.
“I think tradition has an important place in how we run our state but I think this would have been a very good year to have a primary rather than a caucus,” Hickenlooper said. “We would have had a lot more attention from candidates and we would have had a lot more people participate in the discussion, the debate than we had. And I think it’s good for the state’s brand to have a primary.”
Lawmakers at the state Capitol plan to introduce a bill in the next few weeks and there are several ballot measures to restore the primary.
The Governor said, “Obviously there’s a cost there — is it 3 million? Is it 5 million? Is that a cost — once every four years if we only do this for presidential elections — a legitimate cost? I think I’m coming down on the side that it is a legitimate cost.”
He also says unaffiliated voters should be allowed to participate in all primaries, which some ballot measures also propose. The governor notes unaffiliated voters now make up more than a third of the state’s electorate.
“I think it’s a way to better represent, not the will of parties, but the will of people, and I think that’s a fair discussion to have.”
Hickenlooper admits he’s taking heat when it comes to representing the will of the people as a super-delegate. While Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won the caucuses in Colorado, the governor is supporting Hillary Clinton.
“Do I feel an obligation to follow the will of voters? I think my obligation to the people of Colorado and the United States is to do what I think is best for this state and this country.”
While he supports Clinton, Hickenlooper insists he is not interested in a cabinet position.
“I think that ship has probably sailed. If I was being considered, it is likely they would have asked for my income taxes or some of that data.”
But he does have an opinion on who should be Clinton’s running mate if she becomes the nominee.
“One person who I think would make a remarkable vice president — and obviously you want someone who can step in and be vice president from day one — is Ken Salazar.”
The governor also weighed in on some non-election related issues, including the possibility of Guantanamo Bay detainees being transferred to the Supermax in Florence. Sen. Cory Gardner met with residents in Florence Monday. They are fighting against any transfer of detainees. Hickenlooper now says he will join them.
“If I begin to get an inkling it’s going to happen, I guarantee I will be down in Fremont County before you can bat an eye.”