As the Denver Post highlights this morning, tomorrow is the big “showdown” in Colorado Springs, also known as the State GOP Assembly. I along with several other center-right Colorado bloggers will be on hand for various official duties and will give you updates as possible.
There are a couple salient points I wanted to bring forward about the Assembly, as raised in the article. First, both Republican gubernatorial candidates have focused an extraordinary amount of effort in seeking to persuade delegates from across the state to give their support. Neither candidate has been shortchanged in opportunities to control and direct their messages to this important audience, to make their best case for why their respective candidate should be the Republican nominee for governor.
The Assembly’s delegates represent a cross-section of the Party’s more conservative voters. Both candidates have fought for ground on the political Right to woo the delegates into their camps. Failure to attract a significant amount of support among this crowd would show that despite the best, well-funded efforts, a candidate has a nearly impossible case to persuade primary voters on Aug. 8 to choose them. That is why the Party’s rules stipulate that a candidate who does not earn a 30 percent share of the vote from the Assembly’s delegates does not get on the ballot.
Of course, there is the petition option. But such a route seems primarily reserved for a candidate who got a late start in the race for various reasons and did not have sufficient time to raise money and deliver their message to the Assembly’s delegates. Such is not the case with either Bob Beauprez or Marc Holtzman. And why I was disappointed to see earlier this week that Holtzman is determined to petition onto the ballot if he fails to achieve 30 percent at tomorrow’s Assembly.
The utmost efforts have been made by the State Party to address concerns about the security, fairness, and objectivity of the balloting process. Assuredly, the delegates do not want a repeat of the 2004 debacle that enabled many to vote twice and some to vote not at all. And as the Post story today points out, those concerns have been addressed:
A team of about 150 – including 35 El Paso County sheriff’s deputies, 35 ballot-box judges, 70 ballot-distribution judges, four computer experts and five ballot-machine experts – will watch the voting. Cellphones have been banned, and delegate credentials will be closely monitored.
The major upgrade in security is primarily due to Holtzman, who for months has expressed concerns that Republican Party leaders might block his ability to get on the ballot. However, he is not expecting any voting problems now, said spokesman Jesse Mallory.
While I have given my support to Holtzman, I have repeatedly said that both candidates have the conservative, character, and leadership credentials to carry the Party’s banner into the fall election. I also believe that the will of the Assembly’s delegates should be honored and that if either candidate earns 70 percent support there, the Party should rally around the winner. I am not in favor of either candidate at this point ignoring the delegates they have worked so hard to persuade and choosing the petitioning process to get on the ballot.
But if both candidates can pick up the requisite 30 percent support in this fair and secure election process, let the primary campaign continue. And may it be a battle of ideas.