In San Miguel County, Obama received 333 votes to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 53. The outcome in Ouray County was much the same. Obama overwhelmingly won with 164 votes with Clinton garnering 37.
On the Republican side in San Miguel County, McCain and Romney each received 30 votes with Mike Huckabee taking in 16 and Ron Paul receiving 13. In Ouray County, Romney was the clear winner with 60 votes, trailed by McCain coming in with 45 votes. Mike Huckabee took in 23 and Ron Paul received 11.
For Democrats and Republicans, Tuesday’s caucuses brought record numbers.
“The turn-out for our precinct caucuses was extraordinary and unprecedented,” said John Hollrah, chair of the Ouray County Democratic Party. “I am glad there was such enthusiasm to participate in the political process. I am also sorry that we had to tell so many unaffiliated voters that they could not.”
“It was a great turnout,” said Bill Collier, chair of the Ouray County Republican Party. “I think people that showed up at the caucuses seemed really aware of what is going on.”
The atmosphere at individual precinct caucus meetings varied. In San Miguel County’s Democratic meeting at Precinct 2, the atmosphere of the 147 attendees was loud and chaotic as Obama supporters divided from Clinton supporters across the room.
According to Harley Brooke-Hitching, chair of the San Miguel County Republican Party, the atmosphere at the caucus she attended was very different.
“We sat at tables and we had discussions,” Brooke-Hitching said. “People were talking about why people were in favor of one candidate or another. Each precinct could decide amongst themselves whether they wanted to vote using a ballot or hand raising. Everyone was extremely polite and it was very pleasant.”
Across Colorado, Obama was the big winner by taking in 66 percent of the Democratic vote with Romney, who announced he was dropping out of the presidential race on Thursday, winning 59.9 percent of the Republican vote. This year in Colorado, in a pattern that has been repeated across the country, the Democratic Party received a huge turnout of caucus participants with 119,853. The Republican Party, though it has the edge in statewide voter registration, had 65,400 participants statewide.
“It was a record turn out beyond our imagination,” Matt Sugar, communications director for the Colorado Democratic Party said in an interview Wednesday. “In the 2004 caucuses we had 15,000 participants statewide. We had a great crowd this year. People came with a good attitude and were interested in participating.
“The other thing you have to look at here is the open seat in the highest office in the land. There is not a vice president or sitting president running in a party. We have a wide open presidential race. There is great enthusiasm for both [Obama, Clinton] candidates. They are both fantastic candidates.”
Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams did not return phone calls as of press time Thursday.