Mesa County Democrats and Republicans Gearing Up for Caucus

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In four days, voters across Colorado will help decide who is on the inside track to the White House.

As the list of presidential hopefuls gets small, the stakes for those who remain only get bigger. On February 5, also known as Super Tuesday, twenty-four states, including Colorado, will hold caucuses or primaries.

Local party leaders say with this rare chance for Colorado voters to play a major role in the race, now is the time to get excited.

"There's a lot of fresh blood out there," said Gary Roahrig, Chair of the Mesa County Republicans. "People that haven't been involved before are getting active."

So how does it work? The first step is making sure you're able to participate in your precinct caucus meeting. To make your voice heard in the caucus, you must be a registered member of the Republican or Democratic party, and you must registered to vote by December 5, 2007.

The next step is showing up at your precinct meeting.

"I think if you want to be part of the process of choosing the candidate, this is where you have to start," said Mary Beth Pyle, Chair of the Mesa County Democrats. "Otherwise, you're allowing people to select the candidate for you."

Republicans will be given a voting slip when they enter the precinct meeting. They will write down which Republican candidate they want to see get the presidential nomination. The results of that poll will be tallied by the county chair, who will then report those numbers to the state chair.

Democrats will do things a little differently. During the precinct meetings, participants will stand in different corners of the room, which represent the candidate they want to win the nomination. If a candidate's corner doesn't receive at least fifteen percent of the total number of people present, those who chose that candidate will have to select another candidate. Once that is settled, the precinct must choose delegates to the County Assembly. Whichever corners those delegates are standing in receive votes. Those votes are then collected by the county chair and reported to the state chair on Tuesday night.

With tight races in both parties, county leaders say they don't see any clear front runners in Colorado.

"I think it's very up in the air yet," said Pyle.

"You kind of need a crystal ball to call it right now," said Roahrig.

To find your precinct location or to learn more about the caucus, click on News Links at the top of your screen.

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