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Vail’s Johnston tops preference poll at Eagle County Democratic Party Precinct Caucuses

Statewide, Kennedy leads Polis, followed by Johnston in distant third

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March 6, 2018, 11:12 pm

Not surprisingly, Eagle County Democrats would like to see Vail’s own Mike Johnston become the next governor of the state of Colorado.

Mike Johnston (youtube photo).

Mike Johnston (youtube photo).

At the 2018 Eagle County Democratic Party Precinct Caucuses on Tuesday night, Johnston — a former state senator from Denver who grew up in Vail — earned the highest number of preference-poll votes with 98.

Johnston was followed in the preference poll, which tallied 235 votes across eight precincts, by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who represents part of Eagle County in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District. Polis got 61 preference-poll votes in his bid to run for governor.

Former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy was third with 51 votes, and former Republican tech entrepreneur Erik Underwood earned one vote. Twenty-three Eagle County Democrats were uncommitted.

The news was not nearly as good for Johnston statewide, where he garnered just 8.8 percent to nearly 50 percent for Kennedy and 32.5 percent for Polis at more than 3,000 caucus locations, according to Colorado Politics.

“I am so grateful for the incredible showing of support. I could feel the momentum building as I traveled the state.” Kennedy said in a statement.

Republicans statewide were not planning to release preference-poll results.

A large field of Democrats and Republicans is competing to earn party nominations in a multi-step process to land on June’s primary ballot and then battle it out in the November general election to replace outgoing Democrat John Hickenlooper, who is term-limited.

Johnston is on a roll of late, having recently become the first gubernatorial candidate to turn in his nominating petitions for the June 26 primary. Johnston didn’t use a professional firm, instead relying on volunteers to gather twice the necessary signatures.

Well-known Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli earlier this week, in a radio interview on KOA, predicted the race will come down to Johnston for the Democrats and current Treasurer Walker Stapleton for the Republicans.

Johnston has enough funding to be competitive, a powerful organization that brought in his petition in record time and without using a professional firm, and he makes an effective case for his candidacy,” Ciruli said.

Tuesday’s preference poll counted raw votes that count toward allocation of delegates. Here’s an explanation of the caucus and assembly process from the Eagle County Democratic Party:

“Caucuses are neighborhood meetings where eligible Democratic voters choose candidates for elected office, are elected precinct leaders, sign up to work as election judges, and help influence the party platform. A gubernatorial preference poll is taken to allocate delegates to the county assembly.

“Delegates elected at precinct caucuses attend the Eagle County Democratic Party County Assembly on Saturday, March 17 at 9 a.m. at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards.

“At the Eagle Democrats County Assembly, county elected officials will be nominated to be placed on the June primary ballot. In Eagle County, there are five Democratic incumbents seeking reelection: Jeanne McQueeney, County Commissioner District 3; Regina O’Brien, Clerk and Recorder; Mark Chapin, Assessor; Teak Simonton, Treasurer; and Kara Bettis, Coroner.

“Delegates are elected at the County Assembly to represent Eagle County Democrats at five other legislative district assemblies. The Colorado Democratic Party State Assembly is the largest, and will be held on Saturday, April 14 at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield. There, Democratic candidates for the statewide offices of Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Treasurer are nominated.

“Assemblies for U.S. Congressional Districts 2 and 3, State Senate District 5 and State House District 26 are held on Friday, April 13, at the 1stBank Center, where candidates and incumbents will be seeking nomination for the respective offices. A list of all the Democratic candidates and incumbents seeking election to offices that represent Eagle County may be found at the Eagle Dems website: http://wordpress.eagledems.org/2018-candidates/”

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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2 Responses to Vail’s Johnston tops preference poll at Eagle County Democratic Party Precinct Caucuses

  1. Tom Boyd Reply

    March 7, 2018 at 9:27 am

    This is a fantastic showing for Mike Johnston, who was focusing more on his petition effort to get on the ballot, as opposed to caucus. His petitioning effort was historic – no one had ever accomplished it quite the way Mike did. Usually, candidates have to hire a paid firm which these days can cost more than $250,000.

    Polis and Kennedy had put all their effort into the caucus so it’s no surprise they did well yesterday.

    Johnston is likely to take a clear lead once more people hear about him, his policies, and his message. I still think he’s the top candidate for the June 26 elections (even after accounting for my bias for him as a friend and volunteer).

    Go Mike!

  2. Cait Boyd Reply

    March 7, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Great info, thanks RealVail!

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