Local Republicans participate in caucus

Dave Sanford, co-chair for the Republican Caucus Precinct 2, explains the process to rank-and-file party members during a meeting at the Ponderosa Restaurant in Dolores Tuesday.

Republican candidates for the June primary election gave speeches and supported one another at the Precinct 2 party caucus at the Ponderosa Restaurant in Dolores on Tuesday.

Party caucuses are a grass-roots system whereby rank-and-file Republicans gather to choose who will be on the primary ballot.

Caucus participants are required to be registered with the party, and in the first step they choose 18 delegates to attend the General Assembly on March 21.

On that day, delegates from all the precincts gather to vote which candidates will be on the ballot. Candidates must receive at least 30 percent of the delegate vote to make the ballot. Otherwise, they will have to petition to get on.

Dolores has the most delegates, explained retiring caucus co-chair Dave Sanford. For every 63 Republican voters in Precinct 2 who participated in the last general election the precinct gets one delegate.

"Every one here will be a delegate, or an alternate," Sanford said. "This is a grassroots Colorado election process."

Todd King and Ron Roggenback were elected co-chairs.

While delegate votes were tallied, lawyer jokes, Bronco jokes, and banker jokes were randomly shared before stump speeches were read by candidates and their supporters.

Steve Nowlin, a candidate for Montezuma County Sheriff, said his 38 years in law enforcement qualifies him for the position.

"I have proven leadership and management experience," he said.

Nowlin has worked for the Cortez Police Department, sheriff's office, and most recently as a criminal investigator with the Colorado State Patrol.

A letter from Diane Fox, also a candidate for sheriff, was read.

Fox worked in law enforcement for the Cortez Police Department and was assigned the school resource officer in 1998 for Cortez.

Donnie Tanner, running for county commission, also had his letter read by a supporter.

"It is important to encourage economic growth in Montezuma County," Tanner states. "With my experience as a business owner, I understand the challenges of daily operations, management, and long-range planning."

A statement from Jim Candelaria, candidate for Montezuma County commissioner, stressed the importance of upgrading infrastructure, a balanced budget, and following rules and regulations that are in place.

A statement from James Lambert, also a candidate for county commission, noted the job is more than one day a week, and promised he would work full time representing the interests of the county, especially the northwest corner where energy development is high.

George Deavers is running for coroner. He has been the chief deputy since 2002.

"It takes a special person to be a coroner," he states. "You have to be caring, compassionate and uphold a professional composure while talking to family members and friends."

A letter in support of Kim Percell, a candidate for county clerk was read. Percell is the chief deputy for the clerk's office, understands the election process, and has a financial background.

A letter by Scott Davis, a candidate for county assessor was read. Davis was appointed to assessor after Mark Vanderpool left due to term limits. Davis stated he has been with the office for 19 years and understands the job. Since he has been in the office there has been no state mandated reappraisal orders, and all guidelines have been followed. Davis vowed to continue the work by Vanderpool to insure that energy companies pay their fair share of property taxes to the county.

Caucuses give the party base a chance to participate in who should represent them, Sanford explained.

"Not every state uses this system. We're a red county, and this precinct has high involvement in the process," he said.