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Politics and Government

Here’s why joining Super Tuesday for the 2020 presidential campaign matters for Colorado

Colorado's presidential primary will be on March 3, 2020 Gov. Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced

Denver voters cast ballots on Nov. 8, 2018 (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Colorado will hold its 2020 presidential primary on March 3 — known nationally as Super Tuesday — which could mean the state gets less attention from high-profile candidates who focus on campaigning in bigger states with more delegates.

Gov. Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold officially announced the pick at the Colorado Capitol on Tuesday.

Under a voter-approved initiative to hold a primary, Polis had three dates to choose from: March 3, 10 or 17. He was expected to choose Super Tuesday, the biggest day on the primary calendar.

More than a dozen states will hold their presidential primaries that day, including delegate-rich California contest sure to be a battleground for Democrats.

While Colorado will have to compete with those states for candidates’ attention, making the decision to hold the primary on Super Tuesday means Colorado gets in on the candidate conversation almost from the start and will influence talks about who has the muster to move forward.

“I’m excited that Colorado voters will have the opportunity to weigh in early in the process,” Polis said. “By joining the Super Tuesday states I think we can really highlight Colorado as a key state, because among the Super Tuesday states Colorado is one of the only ones that is also a competitive state for (the general election in) November, a purple state.”

The first primary is in Iowa, whose famous caucuses will be held on Feb. 3. Then comes New Hampshire on Feb. 11; Nevada on Feb. 22; and South Carolina on Feb. 29.

After that, it’s Super Tuesday and off to the races.

Next year’s presidential primary will be by mail-in ballot in Colorado, a change from 2016 when the state conducted in caucus to begin the process of awarding delegates, rather than a primary. Voters approved the change that year by passing Proposition 107.

“This will be the first presidential primary in Colorado in 20 years and the first presidential primary in Colorado where unaffiliateds will be able to participate,” Griswold said.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on April 30, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Following the March 3, 2020, presidential primary there will be a June 30, 2020, primary for state-level races. The general election next year will be held on Nov. 3.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, including Colorado’s former Gov. John Hickenlooper. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who has delayed his decision while being treated for prostate cancer, also is expected to join the race.