Donald Trump’s supporters are not happy with the Colorado Republican Party, a fact they plan to make known during a protest at the state Capitol building Friday.
Organizer Erin Behrens, who’s branded her effort “Colorado Votes Matter,” tells 9NEWS she expects about 1,000 people to attend.
Trump won zero national delegates at the state GOP convention, where Ted Cruz pulled off a sweep by campaigning for support from the attendees.
The result touched off a tsunami of vitriol from Trump supporters in Colorado who felt disenfranchised, leading to threats against state party chairman Steve House.
Behrens, a stay-at-home mom with a background in professional marketing from Arvada and a Trump supporter, says she’s organizing the effort without being paid, struck a softly-spoken counter to the tone of this discussion so far in an interview with 9NEWS.
“I don’t put a huge amount of blame on individual people in the GOP, but the system that has been changed and created and manipulated to disencourage anti-establishment candidates, that’s the problem,” Behrens said. “It’s not specific people.”
The protest website calls for a peaceful protest on the West steps of the state capitol on Friday, claiming that the 34 national delegates from Colorado “do not accurately represent us.”
House went out of his way not to criticize the protest.
“I think it is important for people to be engaged,” House told 9NEWS. “If they want change in existing processes this is a good start."
Trump himself is fanning the flames of this protest, tweeting to promote the event.
Big protest march in Colorado on Friday afternoon! Don't let the bosses take your vote!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2016
He also claimed that the state party decided last August to cancel its presidential preference poll at the March 1 caucuses specifically to impede his candidacy.
The rules DID CHANGE in Colorado shortly after I entered the race in June because the pols and their bosses knew I would win with the voters— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2016
House, who like his Democratic counterpart supports switching Colorado from a caucus to a primary, disputes that notion.
“We never discussed the impact on any candidate nor would we have had the foresight to predict where things would be seven months later,” House told 9NEWS. “The person leading the race overall has never won our straw poll.”
For that reason, House speculates that a caucus night poll would also “probably not have gone Mr. Trump’s way.”
Behrens told 9NEWS that Trump supporters walked out of her March 1 precinct caucus site, frustrated after her precinct captain described the lack of an official straw poll.
“I think for the majority of Trump supporters in Colorado, it didn’t make any sense,” Behrens said. “The whole system was designed to favor people who have been volunteering for decades and it doesn’t promote voter participation.”
Trump supporters’ wariness of the state GOP was not helped when the party tweeted an anti-Trump message from its official account and hurriedly deleted it on Saturday.
“The tweet investigation is ongoing and will only end with a resolution that shows who is responsible,” House said Thursday.
The state party quickly blamed the wayward tweet on “unauthorized access.”