Colorado Republicans unveil plans to hold 2018 state assembly at Coors Event Center in Boulder - Colorado Politics

Colorado Republicans unveil plans to hold 2018 state assembly at Coors Event Center in Boulder

Author: Ernest Luning - January 13, 2018 - Updated: January 16, 2018

In this file photo, workers install balloons in preparation for the Republican National Convention. (AP File Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Colorado Republicans will convene this year’s state assembly at the Coors Event Center on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder on Saturday, April 14, returning to the same hall where the GOP assembled four years ago,  party officials said Friday.

“We looked for a venue in Colorado, but they were all booked,” said state party spokesman Daniel Cole, in the first of what’s sure to be numerous quips about the event’s famously liberal host city.

“Seriously, though,” he added, “we love Boulder, and we left in 2014 eager to return.”

The party plans to hold its annual Centennial Dinner fundraiser the night before at a nearby hotel but have yet to finalize the venue or featured speaker, a spokesman said.

Colorado Democrats will be meeting for their state assembly the same day just down the turnpike, at the 1stBank Center arena in Broomfield.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats will be bringing together in the neighborhood of 4,000 delegates for the biennial meetings to conduct party business and nominate statewide candidates to the June 26 primary ballot. This year, that’ll include crowded battles on both sides for governor, as well as some contested races on each side for attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state.

Candidates can get on the ballot by winning the support of 30 percent of delegates at assembly or by turning in a sufficient number of petition signatures by March 20 — for statewide races, that’s 1,500 from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, while congressional candidates need just 1,000 signatures total.

For the first time, unaffiliated voters will be able to cast ballots in either of the major parties’ primaries without having to affiliate, following voter approval of Proposition 108 in the last election.

The assemblies will be the balloon-festooned culmination of a process that kicks off at 7 p.m. sharp on Tuesday, March 6, at precinct caucuses across the state, where delegate-selection begins. Those are followed by a swift succession of county assemblies from March 15-31, with the state assemblies just two weeks after that.

Multi-county lower assemblies — for congressional, legislative and judicial districts — that can’t be conducted in conjunction with the larger county assemblies will take place Friday, April 13, traditionally at a nearby hotel.

Republican presidential candidates met at the Coors Event Center in Boulder for a debate sponsored by CNBC on Oct. 28, 2015.

The last time state Republicans met in Boulder, in 2014, they nominated then-U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner for the U.S. Senate seat he went on to win in November, as well as sending former state Sen. Mike Kopp and then-Secretary of State Scott Gessler to the gubernatorial primary ballot. They were joined there by U.S. Reps. Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez, who both petitioned on. Beauprez won the primary but failed to block Gov. John Hickenlooper’s bid for reelection. (Tancredo will be back in Boulder this year — one of nine Republicans running for governor.)

Ryan Call, the state GOP chairman at the time, peppered his banter from the podium with wisecracks about Boulder — where Call led the College Republicans when he was a CU student, he noted.

“As you leave today, don’t forget to pick up your Free Tibet and Che Guevara bumper stickers,” he said. “That will help you pass incognito as you leave the People’s Republic of Boulder today.”

As the crowd guffawed, Call added, “I’m kidding. We really aren’t giving out any bumperstickers. Republicans don’t believe in giving away anything for free.”

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.

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