Colorado, You’re a Super (Tuesday) Star

Well, at least, that’s how we’re feeling today as Colorado caucus-goers exercise their wee bit of relevancy in the Super Tuesday matchup.Sandwiched between delegate-rich heavyweights California and New York — and more exotic locales like American Samoa — the Centennial State has gotten a surprising amount of love from the presidential candidates over the last week.

Barack Obama was met with thunderous applause from an estimated 10,000 onlookers packed into Magness Arena at the University of Denver with overflow crowds filling an adjacent gymnasium and outdoor lacrosse field. Twelve hours later, Bill Clinton took the same stage for a late-night rally in support of his wife Hillary’s bid for the White House to a crowd of about 5,000 who braved an unexpected snowstorm to greet the former president.

On Friday, Mitt Romney made an appearance at a Denver car dealership while Ron Paul greeted supporters at the Colorado Convention Center, each attracting about 1,500 people.

How those last-minute appearances will affect Colorado’s caucuses remains to be seen. Previous presidential contests for delegates were held in April, well after the nominations were decided.

Especially in a state where more than a third of the electorate is unaffiliated with a political party. In order to participate in this evening’s caucus, voters had to declare their party preferences by Dec. 5.

However, a recently discovered glitch in the Secretary of State’s voter database — which campaigns use to target potential caucus-goers — found it was inaccurately assigning party affiliations.

Still, the unprecedented attention is a new phenomenon here and bodes well for candidates with energetic grassroots campaigns and supporters with a firm grasp on caucus-wooing strategies. It also helps propel the democrats’ “Western Strategy” to appeal to the untapped base of unaffiliated voters in the intermountain west who are trending blue in their voting preferences — especially in Colorado.

Politicos are projecting more than 200,000 attendees across the state tonight in contrast to the 40,000 that participated in the 2004 presidential caucus.

What are your predictions? Take the straw poll and tell us your caucus stories.

Read our continuing Super Tuesday coverage here.

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