For fifteen years in Douglas County, Colorado. I was a Republican. The reason was very simple: Republicans ALWAYS won the general election. The only one that mattered (for people, anyhow, not issues) was the primary.
When the general election came, I have to say that I don't think I've ever voted a straight ticket. No matter how displeased I might be with one party or the other, I'm not an ideologue. I vote for the most capable candidate, and I've observed that neither party has a lock on competence.
After I left my position as Douglas County Libraries director, in part (but not mostly) because of partisan pressure by a couple of county commissioners trying hard to get me fired, I was pleased to go back to my Unaffiliated status. I am, and always have been (like a lot of Coloradans) an independent. Tell me the issue, I'll tell you my take. But I get to decide that, not a party. In general, I suppose I would consider myself a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I support, and have worked to prove it, a strong private sector. But I also support a strong public sector. I've worked hard there, too. Both sectors are necessary. Both need to be watched.
Well, today I changed my status BACK to Republican. Why? Because I intend to vote for Stevan Strain for County Commissioner.
I'm writing this today to urge you, the Unaffiliated voter, to do the same. Why?
First, Stevan is the best candidate. I've known him for over ten years, first as a Library Board of Trustee member. He was consistently thoughtful, engaged, and worked hard to be informed. He was also a highly successful business man (he ran Parker's Warhorse Inn for many years, which he has now sold). By the time he left the board, he had served as chair of every one of our key committees, of the board itself, and of our Foundation. He is a rare creature - a true statesman. I found him consistently astute, a critical thinker, and a man utterly without vindictiveness or malice. That's rare in politics, far rarer than you might imagine. He also has done equally impressive service for a host of organizations in the county. Here's his web page: http://www.strain4commissioner.com/
Stevan and I don't always agree about the issues. He's often to the right of me, which will no doubt reassure many conservatives. But I trust him to carefully consider the evidence, to listen to his constituents, and then to follow his judgment, whether it does, or does not, fit the partisan box. He has both intelligence and integrity.
Second, still, in Douglas County, whoever wins the primary will be our next County Commissioner. It happens that Stevan is facing Dave Weaver, who has been a fine sheriff, but frankly is nowhere near as qualified to weigh in on the many non-law enforcement issues facing the county, and about which Stevan is better informed than anyone in the county, and, I suspect, anyone in the state.
Here's the issue: declare for the Republican Party, and you get to choose the best candidate. Fail to do so, and you hand it over to the party machinery. In this case, in my judgment, that would not be wise.
To change your affiliation (and you can change it back right after you vote), do this, go to https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter-mobile/pages/MainPage.xhtml?secuRegVoterIntro.do=1
Then choose Find my registration.
Then fill out the form and click on Search.
Then choose "Change my info/Activate."
Then update your party, and submit. Somewhere along the way, you'll be asked for your Colorado Drivers License to confirm your identity, so have it handy.
Then, when the primary comes around, I do most humbly and sincerely ask you to vote for Stevan Strain for County Commissioner.