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Romney wins Jeffco as GOP voters caucus

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By AJ Vicens

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won a Jeffco presidential straw poll running away at GOP caucuses Feb. 5, according to unofficial results provided to the Courier by the Jeffco GOP.

The non-binding straw poll conducted across 365 Jeffco precincts during the Feb. 5 caucuses showed that Romney pulled in 4,999 votes, compared to 1,419 for Arizona Sen. John McCain. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee received 727 votes, with Texas Congressman Ron Paul pulling in 553, as of 10:30 p.m.

"We were very fortunate to do well across the state," said Romney spokeswoman Kristy Campbell. "This is a preference poll, but with the support he has here we'll move forward."

Campbell said Romney relied on an organization in Colorado that leaned heavily on legislative and party leaders to shore up support. She said the issues he's focused on — strong economy, lower taxes, ending illegal immigration, anti-abortion issues and traditional marriage — resonated with conservative voters in Colorado.

"It shows our conservative base is coming out again," said Jeffco GOP Chair Renee Nelson.

Nelson said Jeffco Republicans are strong constitutionalists, and that McCain's stances on immigration and campaign finance hurt him among Jeffco voters.

Early returns on Super Tuesday showed McCain winning either primaries or caucus straw polls in Arizona, Oklahoma, New York, Delaware, New Jersey Connecticut and Illinois. Romney was projected to win in Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota Utah, Massachusetts and Colorado.

In Colorado, Romney was far out in front of McCain with more than 50 percent of the votes as of 11 p.m. GOP turnout was very heavy throughout the state.

A handful of other people received one vote apiece — Alan Keyes, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Tom Tancredo, CU president Hank Brown and John Cox. Democratic Sen. Joe Biden earned one vote, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guilliani received three, and District 2 Jeffco Commissioner Kevin McCasky earned one.

The county GOP will verify the numbers Feb. 6.

The non-binding poll is merely a barometer of what will likely happen when delegates who represent the Colorado GOP vote for a presidential candidate at the party convention this August in Minneapolis.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com and check out www.columbinecourier.com for breaking news and updates.