PROMO Politician - Joe Biden official portrait 2013

Colorado groups launch formal ‘noncommitted’ campaign to protest Biden in March 5 primary

Joe Biden
Chase Woodruff

(Colorado Newsline) Less than a week before Colorado will join 14 other states in holding its presidential primary elections on “Super Tuesday,” March 5, a coalition of left-wing and pro-Palestinian groups is urging Democratic and unaffiliated Colorado voters to cast their votes for a “noncommitted delegate” in protest of President Joe Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza.

The launch of the Vote Noncommitted Colorado campaign comes one day after a similar effort in Michigan’s Democratic primary, backed by that state’s large Arab-American community and progressive groups, exceeded expectations by winning more than 100,000 votes, though Biden coasted to victory there with more than 81% of the primary vote.

PROMO Politics - Election Vote Ballot Keyboard - iStock - abluecup

© iStock - abluecup

Organizers say the Colorado effort stems from “frustrations with Biden’s continued materially aiding and abetting of Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people,” and is supported by the member organizations of the Colorado Palestine Coalition and the Colorado chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America.

“Our votes must be earned by immediate and drastic policy changes from the Biden administration,” the campaign’s website said. “Vote Noncommitted Colorado represents the increasing number of Arab voters, Muslim voters, young voters and voters of color who no longer feel that the Biden administration is representative of the values we hold dear.”

“When it comes to the perpetuation of the genocide of my people, the Palestinian people, the party lines become completely blurred,” Abdullah Elagha, a Denver activist with the Colorado Palestine Coalition, said in a press release. “There is only one stance within our government and that is unfettered, unconditional support of the apartheid state of Israel. This is something we as Americans will no longer accept.”

Next week’s Democratic primary marks the first time the “noncommitted delegate” option has appeared on a Colorado ballot since voters approved an overhaul of its presidential primary elections in 2016. The Colorado Democratic Party’s executive committee voted unanimously to request the noncommitted ballot line in December, agreeing it would “increase participation and be a more democratic process,” the party’s executive director, Karin Asensio, said earlier this month.

Noncommitted delegates are free to vote for the nomination of any candidate of their choosing at the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, scheduled to begin August 19.

In his bid for reelection, Biden is overwhelmingly likely to win enough pledged delegates to become his party’s presumptive nominee long before primary season is over. But the large number of “uncommitted” votes in Michigan has highlighted fears that the Biden administration’s steadfast support for Israel in its war on Hamas could hurt the president’s electoral chances in the crucial swing state in November.

Israel’s intense bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7, when a Hamas-led attack killed more than 1,200 people in Israel. Nearly all of the 2 million inhabitants of Gaza — a densely packed coastal strip described for years by human-rights organizations as an “open-air prison” — have been displaced by Israel’s assault, and aid groups warned earlier this month that Palestinians are facing the threat of “mass death” from starvation and disease.

In Michigan, the uncommitted option received a little over 13% of the statewide vote, but exceeded 15% in two congressional districts, winning the campaign a pair of delegates. The two uncommitted delegates are the first of the 208 delegates won in the four Democratic primaries to date that weren’t awarded to Biden, according to AP estimates.

Another 1,420 pledged Democratic delegates are up for grabs across 15 states on Super Tuesday, including 72 in Colorado. In order to be awarded delegates, who will be selected according to vote share at party assemblies in April, the noncommitted ballot line must cross the 15% threshold statewide or in at least one Colorado congressional district.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.