An apparent disagreement among Republicans led a Senate panel Monday to reject the party’s own push to create a presidential primary in 2016. The surprising move, in the final three days of the Colorado legislative session, left a cloud of confusion and hurts the state’s ability to draw a bigger spotlight in the much-watched contest for the White House. Sen. Jesse Ulibarri, one of the Democratic sponsors, said he had “no clue” what happened. “This is one of those where I walked away scratching my head,” the Westminster lawmaker said.
Under the bill, Colorado would have held a presidential primary in March that ran parallel with the state’s complicated caucus system. In doing so, it would have allowed unaffiliated voters to play a larger role in selecting the party’s nominees for president and attracted more national political attention. Colorado is considered one of the seven true swing states for the 2016 election.
In addition to both major parties, the bill drew support from prominent Democrats and Republicans, including Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs. But when it came before the Senate Appropriations Committee, four Republicans voted to kill the bill with three Democrats supporting it.