The head of the Colorado Democratic Party blamed Tea Party Republicans in an interview with MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Tuesday for spurring a ballot measure in 11 counties calling for them to secede and form their own state.
“They want their own state now,” party chair Rick Palacio told Schultz. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted their own country after this. You’re absolutely right, though: this is the same type of people that make up the Tea Party, and I would imagine that there are a lot of Tea Party folks that are behind this.”
Voters in the group of 10 northern counties plus Moffat, located in the state’s northwestern region, will go to the polls on Tuesday for a non-binding resolution supporters say will remind the Democrat-controlled legislature that their rural communities should not be ignored and, in their opinion, over-regulated.
Palacio told Schultz the push behind the “51st State Initiative,” as the measure is called, originated in Weld County, which contains what he described as “some of the rightest of the right[-wing] county commissioners that they’ve got.”
But Schultz described the efforts behind the referendum as a protest against President Barack Obama, and questioned whether voters in all of the 11 counties would indeed support the proposal, which has been widely acknowledged as being unlikely to result in any concrete action, given that both state and federal lawmakers would have to approve a petition for secession.
“The important thing here is, one, of course they need to be listened to, and they feel they’re not being listened to,” Palacio told Schultz. “But I would encourage them to just try to do a little bit of outreach to the little bit of the state and join the club. Don’t take your toys and go home. And that’s what they’re threatening to do.”
Watch Schultz’s interview with Palacio, as aired on MSNBC, below.