From KUNC (Erin OToole):
Conway says the discussion has helped draw attention to important issues behind the movement, especially the sense of increasing alienation between rural counties and the state’s political center in Denver.
“Even if this vote is unsuccessful in some or all of the counties next Tuesday, we’ve made huge progress… in terms of pointing out what, essentially, started this,” Conway said. “We’re now at the point where everybody, including the governor – who previously didn’t acknowledge the problem – acknowledges the problem. Legislative leaders acknowledge the problem.”
If the vote does favor the effort, Conway says he expects more counties to join the breakaway movement.
“I think a lot of counties are sitting on the sidelines right now, saying ‘let’s see what happens Tuesday,’ ” Conway said. “So I think you’ll see additional counties decide to become part of this.”
If voters decline to approve the measure, Conway says they won’t press the issue. A few lawmakers are working on alternative ideas, including a plan to change the way rural, sparsely populated counties are represented at the capitol.
For Conway, the time and effort was worth it to get the message across to state leaders.
Meanwhile US Senate candidate Ken Buck is not on board with the movement. Here’s a report from Kurtis Lee writing for The Denver Post. Here’s an excerpt:
Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said Wednesday he will vote in opposition to a rural effort to secede from Colorado and form a 51st state.
“I think the better strategy is to work to defeat the out-of-touch politicians causing this feel of separation,” said Buck, a GOP candidate in 2014 for U.S. Senate. Five Republicans have announced their candidacies and are vying to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall…
“It’s a symbolic gesture,” he said of the secession plan. “But there are a lot of people who feel strongly they’re being ignored. My wife, Perry, and I are traveling around the state on weekends and that sentiment is wide spread.”
Jeffrey Hare, co-founder of 51st State Initiative, said told The Denver Post Monday many rural voters, especially in Weld County, have sent in their mail-in ballots — a good indicator they back the idea of breaking away from Colorado.
“Those early rural voters seem to us to be very motivated in getting in their ballots and supporting this initiative,” Hare told the Post. “But we’ll see on election night, of course.”
More 51st State Initiative coverage here.