After the distracting presence of Ron Paul Revolution delegates not falling in line at the 2012 Republican National Convention, the RNC decided to make it harder for states to hold caucuses that did not result in binding delegate commitments. But there was an escape door left open for states that didn’t have binding contests in the past and agreed not to hold a presidential preference contest, and it seems Colorado is going to walk right through it, per Frontloading HQ‘s Josh Putnam:

The Executive Committee of the Colorado Republican Party unanimously voted late last week to skip the presidential preference vote at its precinct caucuses in 2016.

On the surface this is an interesting if not strange decision. As the Associated Press reported, it is a move to diminish the role of the state in the Republican presidential nomination process.

That’s because Colorado will have no “winner” that can be announced on the night of its caucuses.

But the state gets two advantages from this arrangement. The first is that it can choose an rare uncommitted delegation and suddenly become very important if a nomination is still in doubt at the end of the primaries. And the second is that all the sanctions set up to police the calendar go out the window if no presidential preference contest is being held. Thus the Colorado Caucuses could be held under its own state laws as early as February 2. And that in turn increases the possibility some campaigns will play there without the publicity of a “win” being at stake:

Perhaps Colorado Republicans did not just diminish their role so much as narrow the field of candidates who are willing to gamble; willing to expend those resources there. The party has condensed the field to three main categories: 1) those with grassroots support, 2) those who have the money and resources to organize or 3) those who have both. The rest won’t bother and probably because they cannot afford to.

Curioser and curioser, Colorado!

BTW, I’m glad to see that Josh Putnam is now teaching at the University of Georgia. He’s the perpetual Heisman Trophy winner of the presidential nominating calendar debate.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.