Robbing Republicans of their vote in party primaries and depriving the grassroots of their say in who is best qualified to represent the GOP in general elections sounds like a socialist plot.
And yet it’s the really bad, no good idea of several Republican Party committee members including the head of the Jefferson County Tea Party, Jimi McFarland, former Boulder County GOP chair Peg Cage, former state House Minority Leader Joseph Stengle, and several others.
And no, regular voters will not have a say in that election that would eliminate all Republican primary elections in Colorado for statewide and federal office.
That decision will be left up to the 500 activists who make up the Colorado GOP central committee when they meet on Sept. 18.
Which by the way, is the same committee of party insiders who would exclusively decide who is allowed to run against Democrats in future elections if the primaries are eliminated.
The committee will need 75% of the vote to pass the measure to eliminate those Republican primaries.
We’ve no indication of which way the committee is leaning. Common sense, we hope.
The measure is in response to the state’s open primary election system that allows independents to vote in either party primary.
Independents have always been able to declare a party preference on the day of primaries to vote, the new rules just made it a lot easier for independents to participate.
After all the party’s gone through, and continues to struggle with since the November election, actually eliminating statewide GOP primaries altogether and literally confiscating the votes of more than a million Republicans seems absurdly hypocritical.
Opposing the elimination of the GOP primary election is Republican House Minority Leader Hugh McKean and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert.
They told Complete Colorado’s Page Two it sends the wrong message to voters and will only cause more problems for the party.
Holbert said he thinks back to a time when Colorado didn’t have presidential primaries, and the Republican National Committee would not seat delegates for President from Colorado because the straw polls were not binding.
“We had completely meaningless straw polls,” Holbert said. “I say that because once the decision was made, the message was Republicans didn’t want people to vote. I’m concerned that would be the outcome of this.”
With the Republican Party currently locked out of every single statewide office, the Republican leaders said eliminating the primary only hurts the party’s effort to win back seats as well as retake control of the state House and Senate.
“Because the Senate Majority Fund is focused on November 2022, we want unaffiliated voters to say, ‘Yeah, we want balance in government. We need to vote Republican.’ So, it concerns me that we would do anything that leads to a message that says we don’t want their vote.”
Supporters of the primary elimination say they are frustrated that independents are pulling the party from the political right towards the left.
But what they seem to be forgetting, is that they’re not just locking out unaffiliated voters, but the actual Republican Party.