03/28/2008 02:48 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Grassroot Democrats Worry About Split In Party

By Leslie Robinson

It was about as grassroots as one can get in Democratic politics at the Garfield County Democratic convention and assembly in Rifle on Saturday. Many of the delegates were first-time participants in Colorado's caucus and convention system. The Beltway political scene may be far away yet these delegates thoughtfully weighed in on a question hitting the Sunday TV news talk shows and political pundit columns: is this hotly contested Democratic presidential primary good for the party?

Delegates for Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, former Sen. John and Edwards and even one undecided swarmed into the auditorium for perhaps the biggest convention the county party has ever seen - 101 participants. The presidential race between Obama and Clinton was a hot topic.

Gisela Koplin from Glenwood Springs was a Clinton supporter. "I think we should change the primary system which seems more like a beauty contest," she said. "This hurts the American people when they might be getting a popular candidate but not the best one for the ticket. I'm concerned about the infighting, too."

Obama supporters, Jo and Amy, who asked not to use their last names, said the process was no longer good for the party. "We can't take a chance to lose the presidency," Jo warned.

"It was important initially to have the primary and caucus races, but now there is too much negative campaigning that could hurt the Democrats," Amy added.

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