WESTERN SAN JUANS – San Miguel, Montrose and Ouray counties' republican voters had similar support to that of the state for the party's presidential hopeful – Rick Santorum.
Overall, the state chose Santorum in its presidential preference poll – a non-binding vote – by 40.24 percent. Mitt Romney followed with 34.90 percent of the vote, Newt Gingrich with 12.81 percent and Ron Paul with 11.77 percent, according to the state's GOP website.
In Montrose County, an overwhelming number of people showed up for the caucus – 960 compared to 685 who took part during the last presidential election year – and more than half were first-time caucus participants, according to a raise of hands.
“I think they are fed up with the current president. But I was really surprised that so many people had never been before,” Montrose County Republican Chairman Dave Laursen said.
Montrose County caucus participants chose Santorum in their poll by 60.9 percent. Romney took 22.8 percent of the votes, while Gingrich had 11.1 percent and Paul had 5.1 percent.
In San Miguel County, with 94 ballots cast, Santorum took 39.36 percent of the votes, followed closely by Romney with 35.11 percent. Gingrich got 12.77 percent of the votes while Paul got 11.7 percent.
There were 183 votes cast in Ouary County with Santorum picking up 57.92 percent of the votes. Romney again followed with 18.58 percent, Gingrich with 12.02 percent and Paul with 10.38 percent.
After the presidential preference pole, the caucuses continued with each precinct electing its committee chairpersons, election judges and its delegates and alternates that will go onto the county, state and national conventions to casts their votes for candidates based on their commitments.
Although local candidates spoke at most of the caucuses, which republican candidates will be chosen to run against any democratic or other party candidates won't be determined until the county assemblies, Laursen said.
In Montrose County, incumbent David White is being challenged by Jim Haugsness for Commissioner District 3 seat, while incumbent Ron Henderson is being challenged by Ed Ulibarri for District 1.
Candidates can still announce their candidacy at their respective assemblies.
Montrose County Assembly will be held at 9 a.m. on March 17 at Centennial Middle School.
The House District 58 Assembly is at 9 a.m. March 31 at the Norwood Community Center. Currently, Montrose County resident Don Coram is the only GOP candidate for that race.
The Congressional District 3 Assembly, which Scott Tipton is the only GOP candidate, will be held April 13 at the Colorado Convention Center.
The State Assembly follows on April 14 at the Denver University Center and GOP National Convention will be held in Tampa Bay, Fla., Aug. 29-30.
For more results and information regarding the republican caucuses, visit www.cologop.org.