Environmentalist will leave the caucus field to Polis and Fitz-Gerald.Will Shafroth, Democratic hopeful for the nomination to represent Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, announced today that he would petition to place his name on the August primary ballot rather than go through the caucus process.
In order to have his or her name placed on the primary ballot for the U.S. House, a candidate must either get 30 percent of the votes in the February 5 caucus or collect the signatures of 1,000 registered voters on petitions. Both of Shafroth’s opponents – former State Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald and philanthropist Jared Polis – have already announced that they plan to take the caucus route to qualify for the election.
In a news release, Shafroth said:
“Recently, I have decided to petition my way onto the ballot rather than go through the caucus process. This was a tough decision, as I have enjoyed being a part of the caucus process as a precinct captain and house district co-chair. However, for my campaign, petitioning makes the most sense, as it will allow me to talk with as many voters as possible over the next several months by knocking on their doors and really listening to their concerns.”
The petition route probably does make sense for Shafroth. A caucus effort is complex because delegates are selected based on their preferences for presidential candidates rather than candidates for the U.S. House or other offices. So a candidate has to find supporters who back him or her and the winning presidential preference in order to move onto the next round. And the caucus field is already crowded with the other two candidates.
In addition, most observers believe that Shafroth’s biggest campaign obstacle is his relative lack of name recognition. Petitioning onto the ballot will, as he says in his release, allow him to focus on getting his name in front of the voters, rather than on caucus lobbying.