|Presidential Candidate Ben Carson campaigning earlier today|
in Steamboat Springs, Colorado before GOP cancelled the caucus
Colorado will not pick a Republican candidate for president in its 2016 caucus after party leaders approved a little-noticed shift that is likely to diminish the swing state's clout in the most open nomination contest in the modern era.
The GOP executive committee voted Friday to cancel the traditional presidential preference poll at the caucus after the national party changed its rules to require a state's delegates to support the candidate that wins.
"We just didn't think in this meeting anyway, they should be bound to somebody when there could possibly could be a large number of candidates," said Colorado Republican party chair Steve House.
"I think if there were only a few candidates it would be a different story." he said.
The move makes Colorado the only state so far to forfeit a role in the early nomination process, according to experts, but other states are still considering what to do.
"It takes Colorado completely off the map" in the nomination process, said Ryan Call, a former state GOP chairman.
The Colorado system often favors non-establishment candidates who attract a dedicated following among activists — as evidenced by Rick Santorum's caucus victory in 2012. So the party's move may hurt GOP contenders such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson or Rand Paul, who would have received a boost if they won the state. This move favors the Establishment candidates such as Jeb Bush who is not doing well in the polls.
Colorado will likely remain a swing state - but with no need to campaign so early in the race, our state could get less attention early on.