Montezuma County Republicans are scrambling to secure sites to host party caucus meetings. The caucuses are set for March 1.
At a GOP luncheon last week, Precinct 8 co-chair Patti French advised her party peers that she had run into stumbling blocks in obtaining a meeting site for the Republican caucus. Five precinct sites had yet to be finalized.
“I’m having a heck of a time getting a place,” said French, who added that area banks and churches had distanced themselves from hosting political meetings.
This week, a First National Bank of Cortez employee confirmed that the financial institution opted not to host caucus meetings in order to avoid the appearance of favoring one political party over another. Bank president Byron Maynes, however, took a step back from that stance.
“We try not to have any public meetings,” Maynes said, adding the meeting room was typically limited to nonprofit organizations.
Maynes also said municipal fire code capped the bank’s meeting room at 58 occupants.
“From my point of view, the limited seating that’s available in the meeting room is the biggest challenge,” he said.
To participate in party caucus meetings, Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell reminded voters to update their current mailing address if needed. The deadline to file correct mailing addresses is Feb. 1.
The Republican National Committee has recognized that Colorado is a must win state in 2016, and local GOP members are hopeful that rural Colorado can offset how the typically progressive Front Range votes.
“We need to win county races, but more importantly, we need to win state races, and we need to win federal races,” said Montezuma County GOP central committee chair Danny Wilkin.
Of Montezuma County’s some 25,000 residents, 18,797 are registered to vote. About 44 percent are registered Republicans, 23 percent Democrats and 32 percent unaffiliated.
To spur local GOP fundraising efforts, Montezuma County Republicans are applying for a state raffle license. At the recent luncheon, party officials agreed to vend tickets to win firearms.
“Guns always sell,” Wilkin said.
In other news, District Attorney Will Furse formally announced to some three dozen in attendance at last week’s GOP luncheon that he would seek a second term as the 22nd Judicial District’s prosecutor, serving both Montezuma and Dolores counties.
“While the gray hairs on my head are populating at an exponential rate, I can say that I’ve never loved a job as much as I love being your D.A.,” Furse said, flanked by half-dozen staff members.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 13, Furse was the only declared candidate in 2016’s general election.