As Donald Trump tried to walk back his recent criticism of opponent Sen. Ted Cruz's wife and comments that women who have abortions should be punished, the Republican presidential race frontrunner indicated he might attend the Colorado Republican Assembly on Saturday, April 9 at Broadmoor World Arena, according to The Denver Post.
But that news hadn't caused local agencies to alter their plans for event security as of the Indy's April 5 press deadline, partly because they have been expecting Cruz. (New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu is scheduled to speak April 8 and 9 on Ohio Gov. John Kasich's behalf, The Post reports).
Colorado Springs Police Lt. Catherine Buckley says via voice mail that CSPD "put into place additional contingencies if something arises," but she didn't clarify whether that "something" is a Trump appearance.
Asked if a possible change in Trump's plans to attend the gathering affects the situation, Buckley referred questions to the Secret Service, which provides protection for all major presidential candidates, a mandate imposed by Congress after the 1968 assassination of then-candidate Sen. Robert Kennedy.
The state GOP assembly is expected to draw roughly 5,000 delegates and another 4,000 alternates who will choose which Republican candidates for U.S. Senate appear on the June 28 Colorado primary ballot.
The assembly is the end of the road for some contenders: A candidate must win 30 percent of the delegate vote to advance to the primary. Six of 11 Senate candidates are hoping to succeed at the assembly, including El Paso County Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Peggy Littleton. At least five others are petitioning onto the ballot.
Delegates also will decide which University of Colorado regent-at-large candidates make the primary ballot; select a national committeeman and committeewoman to represent the Colorado Republican Committee; elect 13 national delegates and 13 alternates to represent Colorado at the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland; and approve resolutions that will constitute the state party's platform.
Still, party gatherings can be frenzied, and Trump rallies have sparked violence elsewhere in the country as his supporters have clashed with anti-Trump demonstrators.
Buckley says CSPD is working with the candidates' campaigns and the World Arena "to address any type of security concerns they have."
Declining to disclose the number of CSPD officers assigned to the assembly, she adds, "Whenever we make plans like this, we don't take regular officers off shift. We leave staffing in patrol necessary to operate patrol."
Buckley also declines to give specifics of who will pay for CSPD's presence at the GOP assembly, saying the city has billed groups that sponsor conventions in the past or has shared the costs in a "hybrid" arrangement.
"We are proud in the Olympic city to have everybody come here to attend the Republican Colorado state assembly," she says.
El Paso County GOP executive Daniel Cole guesses the state party won't be charged for CSPD's help, "because I would think it was the sort of event the city and county recognize requires security for the sake of the public good."
El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder says he's ready to provide assistance if needed.
"I do know they have reached out to us to provide assistance, to be sure we have plenty of personnel available if he [Trump] does come out," Elder says. "It depends on the magnitude of the operation. If Cruz is the only one here, there's probably not near the concern as if all three candidates come."
Facebook page "Say No to Trump" showed more people interested than committed to a "peaceful protest" at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
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