Aspen Republican defies state, to bring ballots to caucus |

Aspen Republican defies state, to bring ballots to caucus

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Steve Goldenberg

Super Tuesday in Pitkin County

Doors open for both the Democrat and Republican caucuses at 6 p.m. The Democrats will gather at the Aspen High School cafeteria/commons area; Republicans will meet at the Aspen Middle School gym.

The caucuses begin at 7 p.m.

Aspen Republican Steve Goldenberg realizes his party won’t be selecting a presidential nominee in the Colorado caucuses, but that isn’t stopping him from trying.

Goldenberg said he plans to bring 100 to 150 ballots and pencils to today’s Super Tuesday caucus for the Pitkin County Republicans.

“My other choices was not to go; just skip it,” he said Monday, calling the Colorado GOP’s decision not to hold a presidential straw poll a “terrible mistake.”

While 12 states and one territory are participating in Super Tuesday by holding either caucuses or primaries, Colorado’s Republican Party is the only one not picking a nominee for the Oval Office. The party made the call in August on the basis that it didn’t want its delegates committed to a candidate during the Republican National Convention, set for July 18 through 21 in Cleveland.

It’s a decision that might dim the energy that comes with the caucus process, said Bob Jenkins, who chairs the Pitkin County Republican Committee, but “it’s not the end of the world.”

Jenkins initially said he would not allow Goldenberg to launch a paper-ballot vote. But by Monday evening, the two agreed that Goldenberg can hand out what’s called “Steve’s Unofficial Straw Vote” ballots to willing participants. Goldenberg will tally the votes at the end of the event and post the results in the room, he said.

Even so, the vote will have no bearing on who the state’s GOP will select as it’s presidential nominee, but Goldenberg’s objective sums up the spirit of the caucus, Jenkins said.

“That’s why caucuses are filled with activists,” he said.

Goldenberg certainly could be called one. He is active in local petition drives, such as the one that put Referendum 1 on the city of Aspen ballot in November.

Goldenberg said he realizes Jenkins won’t go for his maverick ballot plot, but he will try nonetheless.

“He’ll probably try to stop me,” Goldenberg said. “But I’ll see when I get there. They have to let me in. I’m a registered Republican.”

Goldenberg theorized that Colorado’s GOP made the decision in order to stop the candidacy of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. Jenkins, however, noted that the call was made in August, when Trump’s candidacy wasn’t taken nearly as seriously as it is today.

Along with Trump’s name, Goldenberg’s ballot will have the names of the four remaining GOP hopefuls — retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Today’s caucus participants must have been registered with their political party no later than Jan. 4.