EAGLE COUNTY — The grass roots started growing Tuesday as local voters gathered for county caucuses, their first official look at their party’s candidates.
A caucus is a little like political speed dating. Nothing is decided and nothing will be until the candidates and delegates get to know one another better at caucus meetings. A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement. In Tuesday’s case, it’s meetings of political precincts. Precincts are the smallest political districts, usually neighborhoods.
The candidates make clear their intentions and strengths, and the delegates mull it over until each party’s county assembly later this month. Delegates to the county assembly will decide whether they like a good family feud by deciding if there will be a primary. If there is, then the primary is held June 24.
The general election is Nov. 4.
Republicans have one contested race. Three-term incumbent Sheriff Joe Hoy says he’s running for one more term. He’s facing Republican challenger James van Beek, who ran against Hoy as an independent in the last general election.
Democrats will decide one contested race, a three-way contest for District 3 county commissioner. Patricia Hammon, Jeanne McQueeney and Tom Edwards will take their case to Democratic delegates at their county assembly.
Most of the Republicans gathered in Battle Mountain High School, where candidates had a minute or so to make their case with voters in their party. A few met in the Roaring Fork Valley and a few more were in Burns.
The Democrats were spread through the valley in Edwards, Vail, Eagle and the Roaring Fork Valley.
Republican candidates worked the room at Battle Mountain High School, talking with hundreds of people. Democratic candidates hot-footed it from one caucus to another.
Meanwhile, the delegates added what they considered important planks to their party’s political platform. Many Republican precincts, for example, called for clear labeling on GMO food.
The county’s party leaders reminded the faithful to support their local, state and national candidates.
“There are not a lot of big races, but there are a lot of important races,” said Jane Lowery, chair of Eagle County’s Democrats.
Kaye Ferry, chair of Eagle County’s Republicans, took aim at what she says is a bleak national picture.
“Our job tonight is to start the process of stopping the insanity,” Ferry said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.