Around 60,000 Colorado Republican voters caucused on March 1. The overlooked event came back to haunt the GOP state party when the Donald Trump campaign accused the Colorado GOP of hosting a “rigged” convention to elect delegates without any voter involvement.
However, Colorado GOP voters did fill 2,995 separate precinct locations around the Rocky Mountain State at a time when Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson were still in the race at the beginning of March.
During the caucuses, Colorado Republicans voted on which delegates they would like to send to the county assemblies, congressional assemblies, and State Convention, which were held later in March and in April.
Following final votes at the State Convention last Saturday, 34 of the delegates elected from the congressional assemblies were from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposed slate.
What was different about the procedure in the Colorado Republican party in 2016 as opposed to other years?
Unlike the Democrats, Republicans did not have a preference poll this year on Super Tuesday, due to a 2012 Republican National Committee rule change that forced the Colorado GOP to ditch the straw poll in August 2015.
The Colorado GOP held a straw poll for the past four election cycles, but their delegates remained unbound.
During the 2012 Republican National Convention a new rule passed which stated that any state or territory GOP party that holds a primary straw poll must bind their delegates to the results for the convention.
The Colorado Republican Party preferred to keep its delegates unbound and decided to not have a straw poll at all this election cycle. Straw polls have hurt Colorado in the past as well.
In 2008, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the straw poll, but later dropped out of the race. In 2012, former Sen. Rick Santorum won the straw poll but he also dropped out before the convention.
“If we do a binding presidential preference poll, we would then pledge our delegates… and the candidates we bind them to may not be in the race by the time we get to the convention,” Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House told The Denver Post in August.