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A week out from the primary, presidential hopeful Nikki Haley is visiting Colorado

GOP candidate trying to rally support in a state where party apparatus is already fully behind her opponent
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks at the Moms for Liberty meeting in Philadelphia on June 30. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press file)

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley was campaigning Tuesday in Colorado. The former South Carolina governor planned to hold a midday rally with supporters at Wings over the Rockies in Centennial.

Haley unveiled her Colorado leadership team this week, a roster that includes former U.S. Attorneys Troy Eid and Jason Dunn, as well as Wil Armstrong, chair of the Colorado Christian University Board of Trustees, and former Greeley Mayor Tom Norton.

“Ambassador Nikki Haley is the Winston Churchill of our time,” said Eid, in a statement. “She is the only candidate in either party with the courage and consistency to stand up for America in a world that is getting more dangerous by the day.”

However, Haley is coming to a state where the local party is set against her. In January, the Colorado Republicans’ central committee voted to endorse former President Donald Trump, despite party bylaws requiring it to stay neutral in contested primaries.

At the time, party chair Dave Williams said Trump had earned the support because the former president “has sacrificed tremendously for Colorado and America.” Williams cited the legal efforts to disqualify Trump in Colorado and his criminal prosecutions in other states.

This week, the Colorado GOP went on the offense against Haley and her supporters, asserting in an email to party members that she’s running a “failed ‘Never-Trump’ campaign” that is “only helping radical Democrats and Joe Biden at this point.” The main thrust of the email was an attack on the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which is financially supporting Haley, and on one of Williams’ primary opponents in the race for the fifth congressional district, Jeff Crank.

Voting already well underway in Colorado’s presidential primary

Colorado is among 16 states and territories participating in Super Tuesday next week. As of this week, around a half-million voters had returned their ballots.

Republicans have turned in the most ballots, 45% of the total so far. Democrats make up 34% of the returns. Unaffiliated voters have turned in the fewest ballots so far, just 21%.

Colorado sends unaffiliated voters ballots for both parties in a primary, but only allows them to return one. So far, those independent voters have chosen to vote their Republican ballot by more than a two-to-one margin.

For those who want to vote but haven’t yet, the Secretary of State’s office said the time has passed for people to mail back their ballots and be assured they will arrive in time to be counted on March 5. However, there are more than 400 drop boxes available around the state, and counties have also opened their in-person Vote Centers.

Colorado allows people to register, and vote, through the end of election day. However, it is too late for voters who are affiliated with one party to change their affiliation to vote in the other party’s contest.

To read more stories from Colorado Public Radio, visit www.cpr.org.

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