CO: Romney Running Strong
By Josh White
Both of Colorado's caucuses on Tuesday are more like previews of where delegates might go. Republicans in Colorado will choose delegates that are non-binding until May, while the Democrats start a complex process that will culminate in a state convention on May 17, when the 71 delegates up for grabs will be finalized.
Tuesday's vote will be the first time Republicans will vote when a nomination is still in doubt and will be the first time the party has a formal presidential vote at a caucus. Caucuses have traditionally been held in April, usually long after candidates had secured their party's nominations.
This year looks to be different, in that Colorado has moved into the middle of the fray in a year when nominations are anything but sewed up.
According to a poll in the Denver Post on Jan. 28, Mitt Romney held a commanding lead over all contenders, with 43 percent of the vote. McCain trailed with 24 percent, with Huckabee pulling 17 percent and Paul 5.
The Democratic race in Colorado is a toss-up, with the same Denver Post poll showing Obama with a slight lead over Clinton, 34 to 32 percent. State officials said there has been very little by way of campaigning in Colorado since candidates made a push there last year, though Ron Paul and Mitt Romney both visited within the past few days, greeting large crowds in Denver.
The Democratic caucus does not have absentee balloting but the Colorado Republican caucus is bucking a legal bar against absentee ballots by allowing the state's active military servicemembers to vote absentee. A state Republican party official said it is the only exception that will be made in that regard, and that the party has received "quite a few" military absentee ballots, including some from Iraq. All will be counted on Tuesday.
Top state politicians have largely sided with Romney on the Republican side and Democrats have split between Obama and Clinton. Sen. Wayne Allard (R) endorsed Romney, as has Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) and former Gov. Bill Owens. Rep. Siana DeGette (D) has endorsed Clinton and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) has endorsed Obama. The Denver Post endorsed Romney and Clinton in an editorial posted online on Friday.
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