The Colorado Republican Party is considering moving its presidential race to a caucus if Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot following a Colorado Supreme Court ruling.
The prospective switch, which comes with major hurdles, would ensure that the state’s highest court can vote the former president out of the primary — and the state GOP can still deliver delegates. He was at the National Party Nomination Convention.
Making that change would require approval from the national Republican Party, preparations for a major caucus in March and cooperation from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, which runs elections in the state.
The transition to a caucus system will also depend on the outcome and timing of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on whether Trump’s name should be on the Colorado primary ballot. A change.
“We’re at the mercy of the U.S. Supreme Court. We don’t know what their timing will be. We’re figuring it out as we go,” said Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams. “But while this is all playing out, we’ll be making our preparations to caucus.”
“And if it is [a Supreme Court ruling] Things are not going well for us and we are planning to have a meeting. But if it goes in our favor, nothing will change,” Williams added.
In emails and phone calls, other state and national GOP officials indicated that the switch would be tricky and would involve many dynamics that are not currently clear.
The first step, Williams and others explained, is to seek an exemption from the Colorado GOP Republican National Committee, which would allow the state party to award delegates based on the results of a caucus system, not a primary election.
In October, the Republican National Committee approved plans from all 50 state parties on how to conduct their nominating contests and award delegates to the national nominating convention in July 2024.
He and other Colorado GOP officials will approach the RNC “in the next week or two” and “begin the process of getting a waiver unless the U.S. Supreme Court rules in our favor,” Williams predicted.
He said the process will be made easier by the fact that the Colorado state party “embedded” its plan for the RNC in September. We can claim exemption for shifting from primary system to caucus system.”
RNC Rules Ordinate that such exemption may be granted to a State Republican Party in cases where the National Committee determines that doing so would be “advisable to the interests of the Republican Party” or that “it would be impracticable for a State Republican Party to hold an election.” electing, allocating, or binding delegates to the National Convention in accordance with process(es) certified to the Republican National Committee.”
The RNC’s executive committee, which will vote on such a waiver, is next scheduled to meet at its winter meeting in Las Vegas in late January.
Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Trump is constitutionally barred from running in the state’s primary election next year because he incited a riot on Jan. 6, 2021. A little-known provision in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Similar challenges in other states have been unsuccessful.
The court expressly stated in its opinion that Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold “should not list the name of President Trump or count the write-in votes cast for him in the 2024 presidential election.”
The court adjourned its decision till January 4 to allow further appeals.
If the matter reaches the U.S. Supreme Court before that date, the stay would remain in effect at that time and Colorado would have to include Trump’s name on the Supreme Court’s pending primary ballot, it said.
The Trump campaign has signaled that an appeal to the US Supreme Court is imminent. As a result, the wider effect could be mired in legal trouble for weeks or months.
However, the Colorado GOP said it could begin the process of holding a caucus instead of a primary in the coming weeks.
For decades, Colorado has held caucuses as a nominating contest for presidential candidates. But in 2019, voters approved a measure that switched to a primary election system in presidential races, first implemented in 2020.
But Colorado voters are still competing for lower offices.
Colorado’s presidential election is currently scheduled for Tuesday, March 5. But state Republicans are already planning Causal matters Republican National Committeewoman Vera Artegon of Colorado explained March 7 to other statewide offices.
“If we win the appeal in the Supreme Court, his name will appear on the ballot. But of course if not, we have a plan B – to select a presidential candidate through the current caucus system,” he said.
(Artecon noted that an additional day is planned for March 9 for certain rural communities.)
How well will the party handle expanding the existing statewide caucuses in such a short time frame? Not clear.
But if Republicans switch to a caucus system, that would be another obstacle to changes coming from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
“We’re the same thing,” Williams said [ask] Please do not send them out [Republican] Primary Ballots.”
“But if they refuse us for whatever reason, we’ll tell them ‘OK, fine,'” he added. “We’re going to ignore the results. We’re not going to follow the pattern of excluding Donald Trump from that vote.
Jack Todd, a spokesman for Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, responded that “Colorado law does not allow a presidential primary to be canceled at the request of a political party.”
“If the Colorado Republican Party tries to withdraw from the presidential election or ignore the election results, it will be a matter for the courts,” Todd added.
Todd declined to answer questions about whether Griswold’s office would file a lawsuit to block the state GOP’s attempt to switch to the caucus.
“If the Supreme Court of the United States decides to take this case, I hope they will consider that certification is approaching very quickly in the state of Colorado and quickly issue an order or decision to make sure we are in compliance with the law,” Griswold said.
Further complicating the situation is the fact that Vivek Ramaswamy, one of Trump’s opponents, has vowed to “withdraw” from the ballot if Trump’s name appears on the GOP primary ballot in Colorado.
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized the court’s decision, arguing that judges should not play a role in the election process. But DeSantis has made it clear he won’t remove himself from the ballot in favor of Trump.
All four have already met everyone criteria From the Colorado Secretary of State to appear on the primary ballot.