On Monday, Boulder Progressives, a startup group of Boulderites looking to support progressive policies in the city, held its first Raucous Caucus at the Elks Club in North Boulder from about 6 – 8 p.m.
A Big Daddy’s Texas BBQ food truck parked outside the front door and the first beautiful evening of summer fueled a humming energy inside, where approximately 150 Boulderites showed up to hear from 11 potential city council candidates interested in the six city council seats up for grabs this fall.
That is the whole idea of the event, says former Boulder city council hopeful Eric Budd, one of four Boulderites on the Boulder Progressives steering committee, which planned this event.
Not only is the group looking to get to know candidates so it can decide on who to collectively support, but it wanted to make this process transparent, so Boulderites could hear from candidates themselves and begin to make their own decisions, Budd said.
City council candidates in Boulder officially become candidates this August after a petition period when they deliver petitions signed from registered Boulder voters supporting their candidacy. This year that period runs from Aug. 6 to Aug. 26.
In city council election years’ past — Boulder holds city council elections the November of every odd-numbered year — citizens only really know who the candidates are after the city’s candidate phase.
A lively crowd attended the Raucous Caucus on Monday, June 24 at the Elks Club in North Boulder. Photo: Paul Hagey
This means there’s a mad dash from August to November, which makes it difficult for groups like Boulder Progressives — and the proliferation of other citizen groups such as Engage Boulder and Open Boulder — not to mention citizens to parse who’s who and to make clear, focused, cohesive decisions on candidates.
Which comes back to the Raucous Caucus idea. If groups and citizens can get clear on the candidates they like earlier, they can field stronger candidates who align with the issues they care about.
A smart idea, and one the Raucous Caucus proved has traction, regardless of your politics.
Boulder Progressives doesn’t have another Raucous Caucus event planned this year; this one might have been enough.
Each potential candidate had two minutes to introduce him or herself and then candidates responded to questions formed by organizers, press and attendees. After a question was pulled, two potential candidates at random were selected to answer.
Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, potential candidates went through a lightning round where they held up green or red paddles based on how they felt about policy questions. As we know, this black-and-white clarity in politics is extremely elusive.
The potential candidates
Boulder Progressives invited all potential candidates it could identify regardless of politics. It identified a total of 19 potential candidates.
Eleven potential candidates showed up:
- Aaron Brockett
- Rachel Friend
- Sarah Dawn Haynes
- Benita Duran
- Junie Joseph (remote, beamed in through video)
- Matt Benjamin
- Mark McIntyre
- Paul Cure
- Adam Swetlik
- Mark Wallach
- Gala Orba
Those who could not attend:
- Bob Yates
- Hollie Rogin
- Nikhil Mankekar
- Liz Payton
Those who didn’t respond:
- Cindy Carlisle
- Zan Jones
- Waylon Lewis
- Nikki McCord
Replay the event here: