If the first in a series of forums on Colorado’s caucus and primary system is any indication, voters love caucuses, despite the headaches, and strongly oppose moving back to a presidential primary system. Still in question is whether such forums – organized without legislative authorization by Senate Republicans – can be trusted to reflect the views of the general public. On Saturday, a group of mostly Republican state senators listened as voters, voter groups, and Libertarian and Republican party officials gave their assessment of the primary-overhaul proposals that died in the 2016 legislative session and shared their thoughts on what to do in future election years. The forum was noteworthy for the absence of Democrats. A spokesman for Colorado’s Democratic Party said Chairman Rick Palacio wasn’t invited to the forum until the last minute and declined to participate in what on Twitter he called a “work of fiction.”
The forum was announced by Republicans a month ago without any Democrats listed on the panel, although Republicans said Democrats had been invited to testify.
Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, a moderate Democrat, did participate as one of six senators on the panel, which included Republican Sens. Kevin Grantham of Canon City, Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud, Ray Scott of Grand Junction, Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling and Laura Woods of Arvada. Grantham called the lack of Democratic participation beyond Sen. Jahn “unfortunate.”
A lively back-and-forth erupted on Twitter during the forum over just who was invited and when. In the end, Sonnenberg tweeted to Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman of Denver, “Please with sugar on top join us at future Election Study Group hearing. Let’s solve these problems together.”