After Tuesday’s precinct caucuses, one of the most powerful political groups in Colorado are now the Republican and Democratic delegates to the county conventions and assemblies. Some of these delegates will eventually help determine which candidates — from local races to the presidency — will be on the ballot for the August primary or the November ballot.
The delegate selection process is similar to an inverted pyramid. Nearly 200,000 Republicans and Democrats turned out at the precinct caucus level Tuesday night, but only a small proportion of participants could be selected as delegates to the upcoming 64 county conventions and assemblies.
Conventions are the process to select delegates for the presidential contest; assemblies are for state and local races. However, a state or local candidate can chose to skip the caucus process and petition onto the primary ballot in August.
The number of delegates to the county convention/assembly level was predetermined by the county parties based on qualifications such as the number of registered party members in the individual precincts.
Out of the county conventions/assemblies, the delegate number going to the state or congressional conventions and assemblies will be reduced further. The state Democratic and Republican parties also determine the number of delegates who come out of the county, again based on population and the success of party turnout in the 2006 gubernatorial election.
This process also applies for the delegates selected to the national conventions. Note that the final number is reduced to 70 delegates for the Democrats and 46 for the Republicans at the close of the state conventions and assemblies in May. These delegates will have the final say on who will be on the presidential ticket in November.
The August 12 primary will include local, legislative and statewide candidates who successfully went through the assembly process or qualified through the petition route. Colorado does not have a presidential primary.