Dems, Republicans turn out for caucuses at Chatfield High

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By Beth Potter

Republican district captain Gary Messick hawked his marker-penned maps to neighborhood residents streaming into Chatfield Senior High School to attend caucuses Tuesday night.

“Republican?” “Republican?” asked Messick, his head swiveling back and forth as each batch of people walked in from the parking lot. Many attendees stopped to examine the posted maps of their neighborhood precincts just east of C-470. Precinct lines have changed since the 2012 election as a result of redistricting.

Down the hall, Democratic Party representatives were doing the same thing — helping people find their precinct numbers on maps before pointing them to a room. In all, about 200 people — Democrats and Republicans — showed up at Chatfield High for 17 precinct caucuses, a grassroots process in which delegates are selected to support various candidates at the parties’ county assemblies.

Republican voters at Chatfield and at Alameda International High School in Lakewood were interested in discussing gubernatorial candidates to face Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November. Republican governor candidate Mike Kopp, who formerly represented South Jeffco in the state Senate, showed up at Alameda to campaign, said Natalie Menten, a Republican Party volunteer.

Democratic state Sen. Andy Kerr spoke briefly to the caucus attendees at Chatfield about his own plans to run. Kerr was cheered when he said he supports gay marriage, a contentious issue in Colorado and across the country. On the Republican side, Mario Nicolais and Tony Sanchez are vying for the primary nod for Kerr's District 22 Senate seat.

Republicans decided there would be no straw poll this year to indicate how much support each gubernatorial and Senate candidate received among caucus attendees. The Republican primary will be held June 24.