Sanders wins much-needed victory in Colorado with strong support from Larimer County

Erik Petrovich and Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick

Super Tuesday turned out to be a victory for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but at least in Colorado, Sanders snagged a much-needed double-digit win.

(Infographic by Skyler Leonard)
(Infographic by Skyler Leonard)

The Associated Press declared Sanders the victor in Colorado at 9:15 p.m., just over two hours after caucus sites closed. He will be given 33 delegates to Clinton’s 23 from the state to go to the Democratic National Convention in late July. His victory comes after falling behind Clinton in the Nevada caucuses, where he was defeated by just six points. 

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After rallying Colorado State University students and the Fort Collins community Sunday, Sanders won Larimer County and Fort Collins by a huge margin — more than 35 points. At press time, Sanders had 68 percent of Larimer County Democratic support, while Clinton held only 31 percent support with half the county’s precincts reporting. 

Victory in Colorado, overall loss

Despite the overwhelming support the senator had in Northern Colorado, Clinton was declared the winner of seven state Democratic caucuses: her home state of Arkansas, as well as Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Sanders was declared winner in four states: his home state of Vermont, as well as Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado.

“We’ve been working long and hard the last two semesters,” said Rams For Bernie President and junior sociology major Erica LaFehr. “But even with all this excitement and all this joy comes the realization that we have to continue pushing forward.”

LaFehr said she was thrilled by the results but recognized there was still work to be done to move forward. She expressed frustration with mainstream media’s coverage and the help other states will need to “keep pushing forward.”

Kyle Saunders, an associate political science professor concentrating in elections and political parties, said Clinton was expected to win Colorado. He said he was impressed by the work of the Sanders campaign in the state. The Colorado victory, however, does not mean super delegates will change the candidate they align with. 

“The only thing that would change that is if Sanders was able to convince them with a big win,” Saunders said. “Tonight was surprising but not enough to change super delegates’ minds.”

Organizational Breakdown

According to multiple sources, many caucus sites in Colorado were poorly organized. At Lincoln Middle School in Fort Collins, a Democratic party caucus site, capacity was reached soon after the caucus began. A child was seen using a computer at a precinct locator desk, and at one point, emergency services had to be called for an unspecified reason. 

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Sandra Davis, an associate political science professor concentrating in American politics, said her precinct location was jammed. She said because it was necessary to register with a political party by Jan. 4 to participate in the caucus, fewer people were able to attend.

“That acts to depress turnout,” Davis said. “It is not surprising turnout is substantially lower, two to three percent of eligible adults show-up.”

Davis explained that to participate, voters have to be well-informed on the rules of the caucus. One CSU student, freshman art history major Bridget Kennedy, experienced the downside of such a complicated process.

She left Lincoln Middle School disappointed, unable to vote because she was not registered at her current address on campus for 30 days. 

“There were several people coming around telling people to write down their address, saying they would be able to get in,” Kennedy said. “They didn’t tell you you have to be registered for 30 days.”

Despite issues at caucus locations, Sanders surpassed expectations for Super Tuesday with a win in Colorado and three other states, but was not able to overtake Clinton, who won seven states and came away with a large delegate lead.

“If you’re a Sanders supporter, this is a great night for you, especially in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma or Vermont, but people will look at the score board and see that Hillary Clinton was maybe under-performing but came away with a 200 delegate lead,” Saunders said.

Collegian Assistant News Editor Erik Petrovich and News Reporter Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick can be reached at news@collegian.com or via Twitter @EAPetrovich and @TatianaSophiaPT.