Party enthusiasm is up in spite of the race being over. A huge crowd of Colorado Republicans fought over a small number of national convention spots Saturday, a week ago. Because President Obama swept the state in 2008, Republican seats were reduced from four years ago.
The Republican state convention (April 14) shows the party is still divided over control of the state party and the nomination system. Although Rick Santorum quit midweek, his supporters joined with vocal Ron Paul supporters and took about one-half the delegate slots to the late August Republican national convention in Tampa.
It was a combination of Santorum’s supporters wanting to go to Tampa and a desire to keep the conservative message strong. There will be considerable negotiating with Romney’s establishment forces prior to and during the Republican convention.
Santorum surprised Romney by winning a plurality of Colorado caucus attendees February 7. It reflects that there is a wing of the party that emerged in strength in the 2010 caucuses and primaries and continues today. Its members and leaders are very conservative and mostly non-metro.
“Everyone could see it was coming, but the timing was a little abrupt for us,” said Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli. “Santorum did it because of Pennsylvania – he wanted to get out before he lost – but out here, it means that Republicans only have a few days to cut their deals.” (Washington Times, 4-12-12)
Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee and has more than one-half the delegates he needs and will roll up big majorities in the next round of events – April 24.
See Washington Times article: Santorum’s Colorado delegates are at sixes and sevens