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Colorado Republicans visit Pueblo for decision on primary election

Pueblo Convention Center.jpg
Posted at 10:10 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-18 00:21:52-04

PUEBLO, Colorado — Republicans from around Colorado are in Pueblo this weekend preparing to decide who should get to pick the candidates their party will support in next year's midterms elections.

The Colorado GOP Central Committee Meeting will take place at the Pueblo Convention Center on Saturday, and one of the big items on the agenda is whether the party should opt out of the 2022 primary election.

"The actual vote for tomorrow is very simple, it's whether we opt out having primaries period and make sure that everything gets taken care of through the caucus and the assemblies; I hope everyone knows what a caucus and an assembly is because what we're finding is not very many people do, rather than going from a caucus assembly to a primary and then to the general election," said Ron Weinburg, Chair of the Larimer County Republican Party.

The passage of Propositions 107 and 108 in 2016 gave unaffiliated voters in Colorado the chance to participate in party primaries for the first time.

Some Republicans favor opting out of the primary because they suspect heavy spending by outside political groups influenced the 2020 primary leading to losses. However, other Republicans who oppose the move anticipate unaffiliated voters will sour on GOP candidates in the general election and that many Republican voters who are unfamiliar with the caucus system will feel shut out.

The vote to opt out will require the support of at least 75 percent of the members of the central committee.

"The Republican Party being the big tent party as it is, there's always going to be a debate on every issue that comes up," Weinburg said.

Weinburg said the party chose Pueblo for this event because they wanted to get away from the big cities.

"It's gorgeous, it's clean, I'm actually very excited to be here," he said.

The committee meeting isn't the only thing attracting Republicans to Pueblo. Heidi Ganahl, an entrepreneur from Monument and member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, is the first Republican challenger to announce a campaign hoping to unseat Governor Jared Polis.

"I think we've visited about 15-20 counties so far," Ganahl said. "The eastern slope, the front range, and we're headed over to the western slope tomorrow night."

Ganahl is an at-large board member, meaning she won her seat in a statewide contest in 2016. She said she was motivated to run for governor because she is unhappy with the direction the state is heading, particularly when it comes to issues of crime and childhood mental illness.

"The old Colorado way of life of just you be you and do your thing has kind of gone by the wayside and I think people are really uncomfortable with it and looking for new leadership."

Ganahl launched her campaign on Tuesday and is planning to visit 30 counties as part of her kick-off tour.