75 Mesa County delegates to attend Dems assembly

It’ll be nothing like the 2008 political conventions, but the 2010 Colorado Democratic Party assembly today could be just as interesting, party officials say.

That’s because Democrats will learn if they want a sitting U.S. senator to return to Washington, D.C., or would prefer to send a new face there.

Of the 4,000 delegates who will fill the 1st Bank Event Center in Broomfield, the site where the Colorado Republican Party last held its state assembly, 75 will be from Mesa County. (The Colorado Republican Party also is holding its state assembly today, but is meeting at the Budweiser Event Center a few miles to the north in Loveland.)

Of those, 56 percent of Mesa County Democrats had dedicated their votes to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the former Denver Public Schools superintendant appointed to the post last year after Sen. Ken Salazar resigned to take over the U.S. Department of the Interior.

That respectable lead in the county, however, isn’t shared by others in the state. After county assemblies elsewhere in the state were completed last month, Bennet’s contender, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, maintained a 51 percent to 42 percent lead.

Candidates need at least 30 percent of the delegates to be listed on the August primary ballot. Under state party rules, however, candidates also can petition on. Only Bennet is trying to do both.

“I think it will be a pretty exciting assembly simply because we have two excellent candidates for U.S. Senate,” said Mesa County Democratic Party Chairwoman Martelle Daniels. “Everyone is very excited about Mayor (John) Hickenlooper, too, so I think there’ll be some good excitement.”

In addition to today’s main event, there were other smaller get-togethers set for the weekend. On Friday, delegates met to pick uncontested candidates in various congressional races, including officially nominating U.S. Rep. John Salazar for the 3rd Congressional District.

This evening, some conventioneers also plan to picket outside the University of Denver event hall where former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is to speak.

To get ready for that event, the Colorado Democratic Party held a “Half-baked Alaskan Party” at a downtown Denver hotel Friday evening to gather donations for Democratic candidates. It featured a “half-baked Alaskan” dessert and an “I-Can-See-a-White-Russian-From-My-House” cocktail.


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