In 2002, the Bighorn Center (http://www.bighorncenter.org/index.cfm) placed Amendment 29 – the Open Ballot Access Amendment – on the ballot, which, IIRC, would have required all candidates to petition onto the ballot.
The amendment failed, because Bighorn
–ran a dismal campaign, and
–they mistook small caucus participation to mean people wanted a new system.
Apparently, they didn’t anticipate party loyalists from both sides opposing the amendment. They also didn’t realize that voters would rather stick with the current system they didn’t understand and were comfortable ignoring rather than go to the effort of voting yes for a new system that might be harder to ignore and might require them to go to the effort of getting involved.
Fast forward six years and we’re learning about candidates that are choosing or considering petitioning onto the ballot rather than going the caucus route. So, I have to wonder what any of these candidates had to say about the caucus system in 2002 versus what they think about it today.
Faye Griffin, who commented in a Rocky Mountain News article a few weeks ago that she wasn’t fundraising and she was paying for her own campaign, beat former state representative and current Jeffco treasurer Mark Paschall.
My household received at least two mailings from Paschall and he ran a weekly ad in The Colorado Statesman.
I didn’t receive any mailings from Griffin, she didn’t run any ads in The Statesman, but I did see a couple of ads in the Lakewood Sentinel.
Paschall whooped Griffin at the Jeffco Assembly; she made it onto the primary ballot by two votes. Yet, she beat him in the primary with nearly 55 percent of the vote.
A couple of obvious thoughts come to mind:
Colorado’s system of choosing candidates (caucus to assembly) only appeases the party loyalists but doesn’t select candidates that are necessarily palatable to the larger audience of primary and general election voters.
It took only one term of Paschall’s politics to remind Jeffco voters, even Republican voters, that we want decent people in charge of county business. Paschall played politics in the Jeffco treasurer’s office. It backfired.
While there are many reasons why candidates advertise in The Colorado Statesman, who in Paschall’s camp thought a weekly ad in The Statesman was the way to reach Jeffco Republicans most likely to vote in the primary? That’s a mistake a novice campaigner would make. Paschall is hardly a novice campaigner.
Could Griffin’s primary victory mean that Jeffco voters are tiring of the Jefferson County Republican Party’s far right wing and they prefer hardworking, decent, humble, talented leaders running the county rather than extremist politicians? We can only hope.
While the race between Griffin and Moser should be polite and focused on what’s best for Jefferson County, Griffin will ultimately come out ahead.