Third political party establishes Mesa County organization

The Mesa County American Constitution Party hosted its first elections Saturday — a first in the county for a third party, according to organizers.

A half-dozen county residents huddled in a conference room at the Mesa County Libraries’ Clifton branch Saturday afternoon. The four voters in the room who were registered with the American Constitution party voted unanimously to elect Steve Henderson as chairman, his brother Jeff Henderson as vice chairman, and Gene Hughes as secretary/treasurer of the Mesa County American Constitution Party. Steve’s wife, Robin Henderson, joined the other three to form the party’s executive, central, vacancy, and credential committees.

It was a small start. But Steve Henderson said he anticipates bigger things for the third party, which became a major party under Colorado law after American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo earned more than 10 percent of the vote statewide in the 2010 gubernatorial race. The party will go back to minority status in 2014 if an American Constitution candidate for governor fails to pass that 10 percent threshold a second time.

Steve Henderson estimates 200 active voters in the county are affiliated with the American Constitution Party and another hundred are listed with the party as inactive voters. Hughes said he expects people who become disillusioned with the Republican and Democrat parties, but particularly the Republican Party, to be the most likely to join the American Constitution Party.

Henderson said he became a member of the American Constitution Party after years as a Republican because he believes the party “best represents the conservative viewpoint.”

His goal in organizing the local party is to grow the group and convince people to vote for candidates based on “principles over politics.”

“I do not believe a wasted vote comes from voting for the person you believe in. I believe the opposite,” he said. “The last time I wasted my vote was in 2008. I knew I’d done the wrong thing right after I voted.”

The party has a website at Hughes said the party is trying to gather money to increase its public outreach and raise awareness of its presence in the county.


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