DENVER — Following the Democrats’ dominance during the 2013 legislative session, a group of Weld County Commissioners weighed an idea: what if their county, and possibly others, were to secede and form a 51st state?
It turns out six of the 11 counties voting on the proposal turned it down.
While Democrats mocked the proposal as silly — and it’s worth noting the last instance of secession was West Virginia in 1863 — the idea has taken root in the rural corners of the state, where many residents are coming to grips with the changing demographics of the state and the fact that a majority of the electorate, and as a result the state legislature, no longer represents their ideals and values.
The votes Tuesday in 11 mostly northeastern Colorado counties — Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Moffat, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma — will be quixotic.
Even if the secession questions had drawn support from a majority of voters in those counties, the legislature, which is still controlled by Democrats, would have to vote to allow them to leave. After that, Congress would have to agree to admit a new state.
Democrats have tried to tarnish statewide Republican candidates from the counties voting on secession; thus far, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck, a Weld County resident, and state Sen. Greg Brophy, a gubernatorial candidate hailing from Yuma County, have both stated that they’re voting no.
But both have also sought to portray the secession votes as a referendum on Hickenlooper and Colorado Democrats — and that, more than anything else, is what they probably are.