DENVER — The Colorado Republican Party declined to hold a presidential straw poll on Super Tuesday, so John Brackney decided to conduct one himself.
The result of his unofficial count is that Ted Cruz won Colorado with 38 percent of the caucus vote, followed by Marco Rubio with 30 percent and Donald Trump with 18 percent. Ben Carson was fourth with 8 percent, with John Kasich bringing up the rear with 6 percent.
“There’s no doubt Cruz won in Colorado,” said Mr. Brackney, public policy director for Webolutions, a strategic communications firm in Centennial, Colorado.
Admittedly, his tally isn’t scientific: The results were gathered from caucus attendees in about 20 precincts who reported their counts to his Facebook page, Colorado Republican Caucus Results 2016. Fewer than 500 votes were reported out of an estimated 60,000 caucus-goers.
Even so, Mr. Brackney says he believes the outcome provides a reasonably accurate snapshot of the opinion of state Republicans — and he dares anyone to prove him wrong.
“Any social-science researcher could probably blast holes in it left and right, but my response is, ‘Good, show me the data that disproves it,’” Mr. Brackney said. “I mean, who else did any work on it? These are real people reporting real precincts, and to the best of my knowledge no one else has done this, which kind of cracks me up.”
A precinct captain, Mr. Brackney counts himself among those Colorado Republicans frustrated by the party’s decision to do away with its preference poll for 2016. Instead, caucus-goers selected delegates to the state convention and assembly in April, who will vie for the final delegate and alternate slots to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The switch came after a brouhaha over the shenanigans of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s supporters, who managed to capture about 25 percent of the Colorado GOP delegate slots in 2012 even though Mr. Paul won less than 12 percent of the vote in the presidential preference poll.
The state party executive committee voted to drop the nonbinding straw poll in August after the Republican National Committee changed its rules to require delegates to support the candidate who wins the caucus vote.
The situation has led to calls among Republicans for the party to hold a primary for presidential races. An initiative campaign to that effect is now in the works.
“We’ve kind of been ignored as a state. It’s been entirely frustrating,” Mr. Brackney said.
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz took a shot at Colorado Republicans after the vote, saying they had “cancelled” their caucuses and would only send unelected super delegates to the convention, prompting a rebuke from state party chair Steve House.
He said that the Colorado Republican Party would only send three super delegates to the convention while state Democrats plan to send 12.
“The rest of the Colorado GOP’s national delegates will be determined by Congressional assemblies and the state convention, bodies that will be heavily influenced by the very caucuses Wasserman Schultz dishonestly asserted were cancelled,” Mr. House said in a Wednesday statement.
The airwaves in Colorado media markets leading up to the Tuesday vote were packed with ads for Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — Mr. Sanders won Colorado by 59 to 40 percent — but none for the Republican candidates.
“Every other citizen in the country gets a vote in one of the most important elections in apparently the last 50 years — I mean, the Republican Party might get a divorce over this — and we don’t?” Mr. Brackney said. “It doesn’t make sense. The result does not make sense. We’re going to have to go to a primary and get rid of the caucus, at least for president.”