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Pitkin County Democrats support Obama

Joel Stonington
Aspen CO Colorado
Precinct members vote for Democratic can­didates at the caucus Tuesday evening at the Rio Grande meeting room. (Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times)
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ASPEN ” Pitkin County showed heavy support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Tuesday night. Obama won 77 percent of the vote while Hillary Clinton garnered 22 percent.

Nearly 500 people voted Tuesday in a hot, crowded Rio Grande meeting room near the Pitkin County Courthouse.

“Unbelievable,” said state Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Pitkin County resident, of the turnout. “I’ve gone to caucuses in the past where you sat around in a nice little circle. This demonstrates the importance of this election.”

A straw poll at the beginning of the caucus determined which candidates people could vote for in each precinct. Each candidate needed 15 percent in order for registered Democrats to be able to vote for that candidate in the caucus.

Thus, the only two candidates considered in the Democratic caucus were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In the end, there were 431 votes cast for Obama and 124 votes cast for Clinton.

In all, 498 people voted at the Rio Grande room and another 57 voted in the Woody Creek precinct, for a total of 555 who voted in Pitkin County.

“Pigs are flying,” said Camilla Auger, chair of the Pitkin County Democratic Party. “Democrats have never come early and now we have a turnout like this.”

Organizers were unprepared for the number of people who arrived and had to direct two of the nine precincts voting in Aspen downstairs to the basement of the building.

“We usually have 90 to 100 people,” said Blanca O’Leary, vice-chair of the Pitkin County Democratic Party. “This is amazing.”

The crowd of people quickly tired of anything other than getting on with the voting and even booed when it was announced that someone would discuss the environmental voting records of candidates.

“Democrats aren’t going to win with planning like this,” said Andrew Scott, who voted at the caucus. “I saw a lot of people come and go before they ever signed their name.”

Most of the people, however, stuck it out and signed their name to a candidate. It had become apparent early on, during the straw poll, that most of them would be voting for Obama.

“I think he’s unquestionably the most charismatic person on the political scene that we’ve had for years,” said Jim True, a longtime local who cast his vote for Obama. “I like his policies. I like his beliefs. He can win.”

jstonington@aspentimes.com


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