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GOP District Assembly

May 21, 2010

Today was the day for district assemblies for the Colorado  Republican Party.  The race for my congressional district is uncontested–Doug Lamborn is rated the most conservative member of the House–so I didn’t expect much to be happening. I was wrong.

In District 3, political newcomer and grassroots candidate Bob McConnell pulled 45% of the vote to force a primary run-off against state legislator Scott Tipton. To date,  Tipton has not been willing to debate McConnell: will he do so now? The winner will be up against John Salazar in the general election.

In District 7–held Thursday night–Lang Sais pulled 43% of the vote. He and Ryan Frazer will face off in the primary. Two strong candidates here: it should prove interesting. They hope to unset the unpopular Democrat Ed Perlmutter.

The Democrats have it wrong. A contested primary is a good thing, allowing all to take a shot, weeding out the weak and honing candidate skills. Competition is the American way.

But so is cooperation. This morning volunteers stuffed over 7000 bags with candidate info for tomorrow’s state delegates. Each campaign wanting to include materials was asked to have 8-10 volunteers ready for assembly line work at 8 am. Almost all were ready on time and general party volunteers helped out where needed.  There was a great deal of cooperation among campaigns. There were 150 volunteers and the work was done in a little over an hour; an organizer told me it had taken something like six hours last time.

The McInnis campaign  showed up in force but almost an hour late; they added their materials to the already-completed packages. The whole tone of that campaign is different from all the others.

The CD5 meeting turned out to be very interesting after all. Attorney General Suthers addressed the assembly to thundering applause as he spoke about states’ rights and the need to repeal Obamacare. He entered to a standing ovation, just as he had in the El Paso County Assembly.

The second most popular candidate–judging by applause–was Ken Buck. He said that were he in a position as senator where a foreign head of state insulted our country as the president of Mexico did, he would get up and walk out. The crowd was with him all the way.

When a Jane Norton, petitioning on the ballot instead of running through the assembly, was introduced to speak, the floor erupted with calls for “Point of Order” and “Objection.”  The rules generally do not allow a candidate who is not running through the assembly to speak .

A motion to amend the rules to allow any candidates to speak had been defeated by a voice vote at the end of the regular business and before the candidates began speaking. (The exception was Scott McInnis, who for some reason had been allowed to speak early in the session.) As Ms Norton began speaking, the chair didn’t address any of the points of order and so at least half the 400 delegates walked out.  I was Tweeting; when I looked up all the chairs around me were empty. A complaint is expected to be filed with the Chair of the 5th CD. I was told that Norton was not allowed to speak at CD2 but did speak without incident at CD4.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was the talk by Paul Lundeen, candidate for the Colorado board of education and the other person we were there to nominate. He gave a very good speech emphasizing the foundational importance of a good education.
When Rep Lamborn asked for a show of hands of people who were attending for the first time, over 2/3 of the room responded. The grass-roots, tea party, 9-12, liberty-minded activists are making a difference.
Tomorrow should prove to be very interesting indeed.
  1. Steve Egelhoff permalink
    May 23, 2010 9:35 pm

    A clarification on the motion to amend the rules; I was trying to amend the rules to exclude Jane Norton, specifically because she was not participating in the State Assembly process. I had spoken to the Chairwoman and the Rules Chairman Wayne Williams before the meeting started and explained what I wanted to do. I was told the issue needed to be addressed during the discussion portion of rules. Mr. Williams closed the rules with a voice vote without discussion, more to the point without even mentioning the word discussion. So, I was forced to make a motion to open the rules for discussion which was voted down. I believe that if I was able to articulate the point I was trying to make, which was that if Jane wasn’t participating in the State Assembly process, she should NOT speak at the 5th Congressional Assembly. I think even though it was confusing for most people, the point was made. Nearly, 400 hundred walked out, some that stayed turned their backs to the speaker during the speech. By the way, I was nearly was removed by the Sergeant of Arms, who is the Under Sheriff of Teller County. I was standing in the aisle to the right of the speaker about four rows back.

    Before anyone tries to connect me to an organized group or effort I did this on my own. I did it because it was the right thing to do; it was the fair thing to do. If Jane Norton wants to deny the State Delegates the opportunity to her and Ken Buck side by side when all the chips are on the table at the State Assembly, then “We the People”, in this case Me, will deny her the ability to speak at the 5th Congressional Assembly.

    In all fairness I spoke to Jane’s campaign people before the meeting voicing my displeasure in the Norton campaign presence at the Assembly.

    Thanks to all of those who also acted and demonstrated their displeasure in Jane Norton’s presence at the 5th Congressional Assembly. This is one step in reasserting the point that politicians are accountable to their constituents.

  2. May 23, 2010 10:25 pm

    Thanks for posting your comment Steve: that does clarify things.

    I talked to Bob Balink later and the upshot was that the chair has some latitude in applying the rules. Jane spoke at CD4 without incident but was denied at CD2. If the rules had been amended to prevent further candidates from speaking, that would also have prevented Dan Maes. In the end the disturbance denied Dan Maes a chance to speak anyway while Scott McInnis was given a chance to speak early on, clearly out of the agenda order.

    The whole thing was handled badly.

    • Steve Egelhoff permalink
      May 23, 2010 10:57 pm

      I would like to see rule 10.2 d amended to state that all candidates are allow to speak with the exception of those would exclude themselves from the Assembly process.

    • Steve Egelhoff permalink
      May 23, 2010 11:04 pm

      My understanding was Dan Maes was present a couple of times while others were speaking. Then he left to speak at other congressional assemblies. It wasn’t my intension to deny Mr. Maes his time. Besides, Jane Norton should have been very last anyway, if at all. It should have been Mcginnis and Maes back to back.

  3. May 24, 2010 7:09 am

    Completely agree with your rule 10.2 comment. Jane did herself no favors by showing up this weekend–no one else who was petitioning on did.

    With respect to Maes speaking: I think it was the lack of debate that was the problem. Wayne Williams should have allowed debate but he was clearly wanting to cut it off. I hate to say it because he’s my commissioner and I know him, but he acted just like an establishment pol doing a favor for another establishment pol.

  4. May 25, 2010 5:50 pm

    I, as another individual, would have most certainly backed Mr. Egelhoff’s motion had I known what he was trying to do. In fact I thought he was trying to weasel Norton into speaking and not deny her. I have spoken to many regarding the details of the day’s events and written my own article detailing the events here:

    I have received a lot of email about it and it seems that the insiders are all about “being polite” and “respecting the process” and the regular people are all about “she should have never been allowed to speak”, “who changed the rules on you”, but mostly “Right on!”.

    • May 25, 2010 8:19 pm

      I think few did understand, given the haste with which Williams treated the objection. I’m sure it seemed to him like a good idea at the time, but I have to ask now: Wayne, what would it have hurt to go a bit slower on that and get it right?

  5. Steve Egelhoff permalink
    May 26, 2010 6:56 pm

    I guess us first timers should brush up on the Robert Rules. My thought was raise a Point of Order to reopen the discussion of the rules, then make a motion to amend the rule to reflect the Jane Norton exception. I can’t make this point enough Wayne knew exactly what I wanted to do. I explained what I wanted to do before the rules were read. My question is who does Wayne support? I know that he was wearing a McGinnis T-shirt on Saturday. I would guess he is a Norton supporter. Did that have anything to do with the issues at the 5th CD?

  6. May 26, 2010 8:03 pm

    It was obvious to me that Wayne knew what you were after. Yes, he does support McInnis and although I don’t know for certain, I’d be willing to bet he supports Norton as well.

  7. Steve Egelhoff permalink
    May 26, 2010 9:36 pm

    To quote Micheal Bloomberg; “I bet ya a quarter” that Wayne is a Norton supporter. What I did learn is that one person can make a difference.

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