Another Club 20 conference, another great Western Slope experience

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Irv Halter, director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, and former Colorado attorney general and U.S. interior secretary Gale Norton, at Club 20’s awards dinner Friday night in Grand Junction. (SOS photo)

I first visited Club 20, an influential Western Slope group, in 2002 to cover the U.S. Senate debate between Republican Wayne Allard and Democrat Tom Strickland.

That was my introduction to the Western Slope’s complex issues.

During most of my Club 20 visits to Grand Junction, first for the Rocky Mountain News and then for The Denver Post, I covered candidate debates at the fall conferences in even-covered years. Every visit, I met more and more folks, from county commissioners to water experts, and the experience made me appreciate the uniqueness of our state.

Now when I attend Club 20 I go with my boss, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, as was the case Friday and Saturday.

Williams Friday morning kicked off the UChooseCO campaign in Grand Junction, which is designed to inform unaffiliated voters about the June 26 primary. For the first time they’ll automatically be able to participate. That night he attended Club 20’s awards dinner and on Saturday the secretary addressed the group about ballot measures.

At the two-day event, I realized that in a way I had come full circle.

Read moreAnother Club 20 conference, another great Western Slope experience

Jon Keyser’s term limits pledge

The GOP U.S. Senate ballot in the June 28 primary election.
The GOP U.S. Senate ballot in the June 28 primary election.

A phrase under Jon Keyser’s name on the primary ballot for Republican U.S. Senate candidates is causing consternation among some voters.

It reads: “Signed declaration to limit service to no more than 2 terms.”

“Pretty blatant campaigning ON THE BALLOT,” one voter remarked to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

“Electioneering,” one woman complained to the elections staff.

“No,” she was told. “We’re just following the constitution.”

Coloradans in 1998 approved a constitutional amendment allowing candidates who want to choose voluntary congressional term limits to declare so on the ballot and on their election materials.

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Ghosts of Colorado caucuses past, from nuns to a naked boy

The year was 2008 and interest in Colorado’s quirky and confusing precinct caucus system reached a zenith thanks to the presidential race, especially on the Democratic side.

Precinct co-chair Jamie Laurie counts votes for Hillary Clinton at one of 15 causes at East High School on Feb. 5, 2008. Barack Obama's supporters outnumbered Clinton supporters 1,033 to 394 in the 15 precincts. (Rocky Mountain News/
Fifteen Democratic caucuses were held at East High School on Feb. 5, 2008. Barack Obama’s supporters outnumbered Hillary Clinton supporters 1,033 to 394 in the 15 precincts. (Rocky Mountain News/Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library)

As a  political reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, I asked a variety of politicos — from then-City Auditor Dennis Gallagher to U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard to former First Lady Wilma Webb — about their precinct caucus experiences.

With Colorado Republicans and Democrats holding their precinct caucuses tonight, here’s that 2008 story:

Ah, there’s nothing like memories of caucuses past

By Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News

The famed astronaut. The naked boy. The chocolate frosting. And don’t forget the nuns and the no-shows.

Read moreGhosts of Colorado caucuses past, from nuns to a naked boy