Voters from the two major political parties in Weld County will meet in school cafeterias, gymnasiums, libraries and community recreation centers Tuesday night to jump-start the political process for the November election.
The Republican and Democratic parties in Weld County will hold their precinct caucuses at 7 p.m. Tuesday in cities as large as Greeley and towns as small as Grover. Caucuses will elect delegates to attend the higher assemblies, and participants will be able to discuss issues that will be included in the county and state platforms. Candidates who are seeking various positions will drop by caucus meetings to say hello.
Weld County Republican Party Chairwoman Karen Pelzer said there will be a lot of hotly contested local races that people should be interested in.
“We have a county commissioner race that’s contested. We have a clerk and recorder race that’s contested,” Pelzer said. “We have the sheriff race that’s contested. I think that’s driving a lot of interest and will definitely be talked about. We have a contested governor’s primary. We have a contested U.S. Senate primary.”
Pelzer said the Republicans will be doing a straw poll in Weld County for the U.S. Senate race and for the governor’s race.
Weld County Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Bruner said there are no contested races in her party, but she thinks the economy, education and energy will be hot issues at the caucuses.
“I don’t want to speak on everyone’s behalf of the party because it’s very hard to predict,” Bruner said. “This is just a very positive, constructive process, and I want everyone to participate. It is not an intimidating process at all.”
Pelzer said that the Weld GOP added three districts in 2013 and redrew the existing district lines, so people should make sure they double-check their precinct with the specific districts. She said that there may be a caucus meeting at a location that someone has been at in the past, but that might not be that person’s caucus location Tuesday night.
Bruner and Pelzer are encouraging Weld residents to participate in their neighborhood precinct caucuses.
“Caucuses are interaction at a local level with people from your neighborhood,” Bruner said. “You’re meeting with people who are usually like-minded politically. They’ll take a straw poll on a certain candidate. It’s all about electing delegates to the county assembly and then the state assembly. This is really where it all begins.”
Bruner said caucus participants will be able to discuss issues that are important to them.
“Part of the process is looking at items that will be on the party’s platform,” she said. “This is total grassroots politics. You get to interact with people right inside of your neighborhood and talk about things that are important to you. This is really a chance for everyone to have their voices heard. I would encourage people to do it.”
Pelzer said people who haven’t attended a caucus will be amazed at how the process works and how much preparation goes into making it a positive experience.
“It really is interesting. I think people don’t really understand how grassroots this process is,” Pelzer said. “Nothing after caucus night will happen that wasn’t set in place on caucus night. It is really two hours that’s really well spent to go get an education on how your political process works and how you can be involved in it.”