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Grassroots politics continue in Vail Valley

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Democrats will hold their County Assembly Monday as two Republicans are expected to announce their candidacy for Board of County Commissioners seats the same week.

One Republican is expected to run for Commissioner Peter Runyon’s seat, who has said he probably will run for reelection, but has not made an official announcement.

Another Republican is expected run for the seat of Commissioner Arn Menconi, who is term-limited and will run for mayor of Eagle. Eagle Mayor and Democrat Jon Stavney is running for District 2, Menconi’s seat.

Randy Milhoan, Chairman of Eagle County Republican Party, declined to name the Republicans he said would make the announcements.

Like the rest of Colorado Feb. 5, Republicans and Democrats chose delegates to represent them at meetings up until the 2008 election. The parties also chose presidential candidates: Republican Mitt Romney, who dropped out of the race, and Democratic front-runner Barack Obama.

Next comes each party’s County Assembly, held five weeks apart this year, where delegates choose candidates for county offices that voters will see on primary ballots August 12. Both parties also will chose delegates to go onto their respective State Conventions.

Democratic delegates will meet Monday evening for their County Assembly to choose their candidates and which delegates will go to the Democratic State Convention in Colorado Springs, said Carole Onderdonk, co-vice chair of Eagle County Democratic Party.

Chosen at the Democratic caucus in Eagle Feb. 5, as many as 193 delegates will show up at the assembly, Onderdonk said. Forty-six will be chosen to go on to the State Convention in Colorado Springs May 17, she said.

At the state convention, some Eagle County delegates may be chosen to go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, she said.

“We’re hoping to get somebody from here, but it’s not necessarily going to happen,” she said.

Delegates from the Front Range have a better chance of going to the National Convention, she said. Delegates at the National Convention will be involved in choosing a presidential nominee.

Democratic candidates Christine Scanlan, Eagle County’s state representative, and Joan Fitz-Gerald and Jared Polis, who are running to represent Eagle County in U.S. Congress, will give speeches at the assembly, she said.

Though not the only way to get on the local primary ballot, Democratic and Republican candidates must get at least 30 percent of delegates’ votes at the county assemblies to get on the ballot for the August primary.

The assembly will be held at 6 p.m. at the Eagle County Building in the room where the Board of County Commissioners meet. The public may attend, but cannot vote for candidates, Onderdonk said.

Republicans will hold their County Assembly March 1 at 4 p.m. in the Eagle County Building. The process will be similar to the Democrats’ assembly, but Republican candidates Mark Hurlbert, seeking reelection as Eagle County’s district attorney; Al White, running for Eagle County’s state Senate seat; and Muhammad Ali Hasan, running to represent Eagle County in the state House, will attend.

Precinct chairman and committee people will be chosen to run elections for the next couple years, and Republicans also will discuss proposed laws and local policies that they want Republican lawmakers to consider, Milhoan said.

During the weekend of the Republican State Convention in Broomfield, candidates for state legislative offices like House District 56 and Senate District 8 will be chosen for the primary ballot, he said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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