Who cares if today's the deadline to pick a political party in advance of caucuses in March? After all, the fix is already in when it comes to the big races: The Republicans will put forward Jane Norton for the U.S. Senate and Scott McInnis for Colorado governor, while the Democrats will counter with Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper. Why bother?
John Wren has plenty of reasons. Wren is a community activist who was deeply involved in the 2002 campaign to save Colorado's caucuses, which were threatened by an amendment that would have killed it -- and he believes strongly in the process.
"A lot of rich, powerful people don't like the caucus system," he notes. "It's this messy, grassroots thing. But the caucuses force them to deal with what the common person has to say about things, and I think that's the foundation of this country."
Wren concedes that caucuses often aren't as freewheeling as they should be, because powerful members of the party try to foreclose choice rather than promote it. Indeed, as the Colorado Statesman reported in December, Wren "resigned as a Democrat" because of his belief that District 5 big-wig Rita Schweitz gamed the process in favor of Andrew Romanoff, who remains as of this moment an official challenger to Bennet -- although there are rumors aplenty about his future status due to his scheduling of a news conference just after noon today.
"I might actually be for Andrew Romanoff," Wren allows. "But what I objected to was the abuse of power, where a county chair and a district captain anoints someone. So I'm unaffiliated and trying to decide what to do today."
That doesn't mean Wren will remain on the political sidelines.
"I plan on talking to people on both sides to see where I can do the most over the next couple of years leading up to 2012," he says. "I don't know if that'll be as a Republican or as a Democrat. People always recommend that everybody affiliate with a party, or else you lose your voice. But I may be in a rare position where it might be better if I remain unaffiliated for now."
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In the meantime, Wren encourages voters to consider getting involved in the caucus process. Learn how by visiting this page on the Secretary of State's website, which he says is "filled with very useful, very evenhanded information." Registered voters can look up their precinct at another destination on the Secretary of State's site, or contact their local clerk and recorder by clicking here.
These last three links were included in a Denver Post article about the caucus deadline that Wren calls "a step in the right direction" in terms of coverage -- but he was frustrated by the modest play the piece received.
"This is something that affects more people in Colorado than the Broncos," he argues. "The Broncos, they write page after page after page about them. If they'd cover the caucus the same way, it would breathe life into the system."