Unity Party sets inaugural state convention as Colorado’s newest official minor party
Author: Ernest Luning - June 15, 2017 - Updated: June 16, 2017
Now that the Unity Party has been elevated to minor party status in Colorado, its organizers say it’s time for a state convention to adopt bylaws, elect officers and approve a platform. And nachos.
Anyone affiliated with the party — there were 1,002 as of last Monday, the secretary of state’s office said — can attend the confab on Saturday, July 15, at a Westminster restaurant.
After passing 1,000 members on state voter registration rolls last week, the Unity Party became Colorado’s fourth officially designated minor party, joining the Libertarians, the Greens and the American Constitution Party. It will retain the status for at least the next two general elections, in 2018 and 2020, election officials said.
The Democrats and Republicans are the state’s major parties, a status achieved by their gubernatorial nominees receiving at least 10 percent of the vote in the last gubernatorial election. (Fun fact: the Republicans came very close to losing major party status in 2010, when gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes barely squeaked past the threshold with 10.98 percent of the vote, according to official state results.)
The self-described centrist party — its platform supports a federal balanced budget amendment, term limits on federal judges and lawmakers and a strict ban on gerrymandering — has been around since the day after the 2004 election, when current state party chair Bill Hammons and some friends, family and fellow alumni of Wesley Clark’s failed Democratic presidential campaign came together to found it.
Hammons, who lives in Thornton and sells life insurance, wears a lot of hats in the Unity Party. In addition to being its founder and chair of the Colorado party, he’s also the national chair — the party has members in 37 states — and is a Unity Party candidate for governor in next year’s election. He was also the Unity nominee for the U.S. Senate two times and twice ran for Congress on the ticket in Colorado’s 2nd District.
While Hammons has had to petition his way on to the ballot for his previous runs, the fresh minor party designation means the party will be able to nominate candidates straight to the ballot “with a show of hands” at its next state assembly, set for March 2018.
The party is encouraging members to announce their candidacies for office at the July convention. Hammons told Colorado Politics that potential candidates will have to be registered with the Unity Party by Jan. 1, 2018, to qualify for nomination at next spring’s assembly.
Next month’s convention to conduct party business — and enjoy complimentary nachos — is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on July 15 at Chuy’s, a Tex-Mex restaurant at 6595 W. 104th Ave. in Westminster.