Grassroots politics played out throughout Weld County as Republicans and Democrats gathered for their precinct caucuses Tuesday night.
In Windsor, the Republicans held their caucuses at Windsor Charter Academy, while Windsor Middle School was the site for the Democrats.
The caucuses came less than a week after recent news from the Republicans shook up the U.S. Senate and the 4th Congressional District races.
U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner chose to leave his 4th Congressional District seat to run for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Mark Udall.
The decision of Weld District Attorney Ken Buck to drop out of the Senate race and run as a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional District — along with the additions of Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and state Sen. Scott Renfroe of Greeley — had Republicans and Democrats talking.
Delegates were elected to attend county and state assemblies and participants met with their neighbors in their precinct to discuss issues that will be included in the county and state platforms.
Sean Verhoeff, 20, of Greeley was attending his second Republican caucus and said he’s very interested in the moves in the Senate and 4th Congressional District races.
“I have no idea who is going to win (4th CD),” Verhoeff said. “Right now it’s Weld County fighting for the 4th Congressional. I think it’s going to be an interesting race and an interesting turnout.”
Verhoeff said it’s important for people his age to get involved, and that personal liberty, gun rights and the national debt concern him.
“It’s my country and if we keep going in this direction we’re going to lose our country,” said Verhoeff, the state treasurer of the Young Republicans, who was at the caucus at Jefferson High School on the east side of Greeley. “I want to keep America as the shiny city on the hill, not second place. It is very important that we all go to caucus and we all take a stand. It’s something that I really wish we could get more young people to go to.”
Rochelle Galindo, a young participant at the Democratic caucus at Heath Middle School in Greeley, was attending her first caucus. She said there is a lot of apathy in her age group when it comes to politics.
“People my age are opposed to getting involved politically,” said Galindo, 24, who is the president of the Weld County Young Democrats. “I’ve been trying to promote a lot of youth activities, especially here in Weld County.”
Galindo had a definite view on the Weld Republicans’ moves over the past week.
“It’s hilarious to see their chess pieces moves,” Galindo said. “It’s funny that Kirkmeyer, especially, is stepping up to be a congressional candidate because she was one of the leaders in trying to secede from the state, but she now wants to represent it.”
Political veteran Betty Hall, 78, of Greeley said she’s been to a lot of caucuses and that she still learns a great deal at each one.
“I like to meet my neighbors, and I also like the interaction of talking to people who are very interested in politics,” said Hall, who attended the Jefferson High School caucus. “If you don’t get involved, don’t complain about what’s going on.”
With no contested races in Weld County for the Democrats in November, Rick Turner, 61, a Greeley Democrat who attended the Heath caucus, joked that he told a Republican friend that he wanted to go as a guest at her Republican caucus because that’s where all the fun would be.
“I said, ‘Would you please videotape it or something? It’s got to be great,’ ” Turner said. “I think the (Republicans) are doing what they think they need to do to win. There are just so many people running for each office. When the dust settles is when we’ll actually see what’s going on.”