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Jan 23, 2012 8:23 PM by Ophelia Young

Colorado Republican caucus to play national role

Colorado's Republican caucus shifted from March to February.
Local political figures expect that our caucus--only two weeks from now--will have a loud voice in the national conversation about our next president.

Political analysts believe Mitt Romney could have swept the nations votes with a win South Carolina. To the surprise of many, Romney didn't come out top.

"It's still a very competitive and very fluid four-way race right now," said Dick Wadhams, former chair of Colorado's Republican Party.

Now the country is talking, and the party expects all
ears will be listening to our conversation..in just 2 weeks.

"Colorado Republicans aren't going to be just in the back of the back of the pack with Super Tuesday in March, but instead we get to be a part of that early dynamic," said Ryan Call, current chair of Colorado's Republican Party.

And that's because, for the second election year in a row, Colorado has moved its Republican caucuses up from March to next month.

"It's a great snapshot of where the West is at, issues of energy and job growth and economic prosperity--some issues that are really unique to our perspective in this part of the country," said Call.

They will have a huge influence during that very short period of time on where this race stands for the Republican nominations," said Wadhams.

The move, though only by a month, will place Colorado in the national spotlight. It is also expected to produce robust participation within the state. Normally our voter turnout is about 20,000 people. In 2008, we saw about 75,000. Colorado expects even more this year.

"A little more buzz and a little bit more interest to participating in the caucuses, and I think there's sort of a curiosity," said Sallie Clark, El Paso County Commissioner.

Local political figures aren't sure what to expect on February 7th, but they're sure what happens will help lead the way to the big election November.

"(Colorado) tends to be a battleground state, and I've heard it said 'So goes Colorado, so goes the nation'" said Clark.

The four major Republican presidential candidates are expected to visit Colorado before our February 7th caucus.

For updates on when and where they'll arrive, visit the Colorado State Republican Party's website.

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