By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
It’s the marathon weekend of political party assemblies! Thousands of Democratic and Republican delegates will tackle the business of selecting candidates and shaping resolutions at assemblies on Saturday, April 10.
The day will also be spiced with speeches by statewide and congressional candidates. You can bet Arapahoe, Douglas, El Paso and Jefferson counties’ assemblies are on all their hop-and-drop schedules.
Here’s a preview of the Democratic and Republican races in Arapahoe, Douglas, El Paso and Jefferson counties.
Arapahoe Democratic Party Chair Mike Hamrick anticipates 930 delegates and 400 alternates will attend the Arapahoe County Democratic Party assembly at Hinkley High School in Aurora. County GOP Chair Dave Kerber estimates that more than 1,250 delegates and alternates will attend the county assembly at Englewood High School.
Arapahoe County Treasurer Doug Milliken, a Democrat, is seeking a second term. In the general election, Milliken will likely face Republican opponent Aurora City Councilmember Sue Sandstrom, a Certified Public Accountant and small business owner.
County Clerk and Recorder Nancy Doty, Assessor Corbin Skadol and Coroner Michael J. Doberson, all Republicans, are running for re-election. So far, the trio is unopposed.
In Arapahoe County Commissioner District 2, former state Rep. Lauri Clapp and Greenwood Mayor Nancy Sharpe are battling for the GOP nomination to replace Commissioner Jim Dyer, who decided not to seek a second term. A Democratic candidate may emerge after the party assembly this weekend.
In Arapahoe County Commissioner District 4, Commissioner Pat Noonan, a Democrat, decided not to run for re-election. Democrat Nancy Jackson is running for the commissioner district seat and will face the winner of a Republican contest between candidates Bob Fitzgerald and Bruce Peterson.
In House District 36, Democratic state Rep. Su Ryden is running for re-election. As of yet, no Republican challenger has surfaced. In House District 37, Republican state Rep. Spencer Swalm is seeking re-election and will likely square off against Democrat challenger Godfrey Brett in the general election.
In House District 38, Republican Kathleen Conti is campaigning for the party’s nomination to challenge Democratic state Rep. Joe Rice. In House District 39, no Democratic “David” has emerged to take on GOP “Goliath” — Assistant House Minority Leader David Balmer, who has more than $93,000 in his campaign war chest.
In House District 41, Republicans Arthur Carlson and Brad Wagnon are vying for the party’s nomination. The winner will challenge incumbent Democratic state Rep. Nancy Todd. In House District 42, Republican candidate Sally Mounier aims to challenge incumbent Democratic state Rep. Karen Middleton.
Multi-county House Districts 1, 3, 6 and 9 will convene Republican and Democratic Party assemblies after their county assemblies on Saturday. Democratic delegates will meet at 2:00 p.m. at the University of Denver. Republican delegates are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. at East High School.
In House District 1, Republican candidate Danny Stroud aims to challenge Democratic incumbent state Rep. Jeanne Labuda. In House District 3, Republican challenger Christine Mastin is seeking the nomination to challenge Democratic state Rep. Daniel Kagan, who was appointed to fill the seat after state Rep. Anne McGihon retired last year.
In House District 6, Democratic state Rep. Lois Court may face Republican challenger Joshua Sharf, who is seeking the GOP’s nomination. In House District 9, Republican candidates Robert Lane and Christopher Joseph “C.J.” Garbo are vying for their party’s nomination to challenge Democratic state Rep. Joe Miklosi.
In House District 40, Republican state Rep. Cindy Acree is seeking re-election and, so far, faces one challenger, unaffiliated candidate Pervaiz “PK” Kaiser. Because House District 40 includes portions of Arapahoe and Elbert counties, the party assemblies will convene in the future. Democrats have not set a time and place; Republicans will meet in Loveland on May 21, the day before the state GOP assembly.
El Paso County
El Paso County GOP delegates will vote for candidates in at least five contested races at their assembly at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Event Center. Democrats have a hand full of declared candidates — and anticipate filling their candidate roster at the assembly in Palmer High School.
County Sheriff Terry Maketa, seeking a third term, is being challenged by fellow Republican Jacob “Jake” Shirk, the Monument Police Chief. As of yet, no Democratic or independent candidate has tossed their hat in this rodeo.
Because of term limits, four county elected offices have opened to candidates. County Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink, a Republican, is running for Treasurer. County Commissioner Wayne Williams, county Treasurer Sandra Damron and Charles Corry are competing to become the Republican nominee in the race for county Clerk and Recorder. The winner will face Democratic candidate and county Public Trustee Tom Mowle.
Colorado Springs City Councilman and El Paso County GOP Vice Chair Darryl Glenn is running for the county Commissioner District 1 seat being retired by Williams. Glenn faces challenges from Republican candidate Richard Nasby, a Regis College business professor who is petitioning onto the ballot. The winner will likely face Democratic candidate Steve Kjonaas.
Republican candidates Peggy Littleton, William Guevara and David Williams are campaigning for the county Commissioner District 5 seat being vacated by Commissioner Jim Bensberg. The nominee will face Democratic candidate state Rep. Michael Merrifield, who is term limited in House District 18.
Merrifield’s House District 18 seat is being sought by Democratic candidate Pete Lee, an attorney, and Republican contender Karen Cullen, an innkeeper.
In House District 17, Democratic state Rep. Dennis Apuan will be challenged by the winner of a Republican contest between Mark Barker, an attorney and veteran police officer, and Kit Roupe, a military land use planner who campaigned against Apuan in 2008.
Republican Rep. Kent Lambert is running for the Senate District 9 seat being retired by state Senator David Schultheis. The candidate is being challenged by Republican Tom McDowell. Republican Dr. Janak Joshi is seeking the House District 14 seat being vacated by Lambert.
In Senate District 11, Senate Majority Leader John Morse is seeking re-election and will likely face Republican challenger Owen Hill, a Compassion International finance executive.
Republicans running for re-election without opposition at this time include Reps. Mark Waller in HD 15, Larry Liston in HD 16, Marsha Looper in HD 19, Amy Stephens in HD 20, and Bob Gardner in HD 21. Because HD 21 includes parts of El Paso and Fremont counties, the assembly will be convene on April 17 at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs.
Douglas County Republicans kick off their assembly Friday night with a candidates’ forum at the Denver Marriott South hotel. The assembly will officially convene the following morning in the hotel. The county Democratic Party will hold its assembly at Rock Canyon High School in Littleton.
No race takes a higher profile at the GOP assembly than the contest in House District 44 to fill the shoes of House Minority Leader Mike May, who is retiring. Republican candidates David Casiano, Chris Holbert, Polly Lawrence and Dustin Zvonek are vying for the nomination. Libertarian candidate Peter Ericson will challenge the Republican nominee in the general election. The county Democratic Party Assembly may also produce a contender for this seat.
Republican State Senator Ted Harvey and Reps. Frank McNulty and Carole Murray are seeking re-election without opposition as yet. Murray will seek the nomination at the House District 45 assembly on April 24 at Castle View High School.
In the local races, Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver, county Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith, Assessor Teri Cox and District 1 County Commissioner Jack Hilbert, all Republicans, are seeking re-election. At this time, no Democratic or independent opponents have surfaced.
Republican County Treasurer Sharon Jones is not seeking re-election. The office is being pursued by Republican candidates Diane Holbert and Tom Vann. Across the aisle, Douglas County Public Trustee Diane Bailey is seeking the Democratic nomination for the treasurer’s race.
The Jefferson County Republican Assembly will be held at the El Jebel Shrine Auditorium in Denver while the county Democratic Party Assembly convenes at the Mile-Hi Church in Lakewood.
Much of the excitement at both party assemblies will stem from the contests to replace Democratic state Senators Dan Gibbs in Senate District 16 and Moe Keller in Senate District 20, who is term limited.
Vying for the SD 16 seat is Democratic candidate and former Jefferson County Commissioner Jeanne Nicholson, who aims to take on the winner of a Republican contest between Mark Hurlbert and Tim Leonard. In SD 20, Republican John Odom is seeking the GOP nomination, and if successful, he’ll face the winner of the Democratic contest between former state Rep. Cheri Jahn and Dave Ruchman.
In House District 27, Democratic state Rep. Sara Gagliardi is running for re-election, and Republican candidates Dave Aquino and Libby Szabo are battling for the GOP nomination. Libertarian G.T. “Bud” Martin will compete against Gagliardi and the Republican nominee in the general election.
In House District 22, Democrat Chris Radeff is seeking the party’s nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Ken Summers. In House District 28, Republican state Rep. Jim Kerr is running for re-election and will likely face Democratic contender Steve Harvey.
Republican candidates hope to win nominations to challenge Democratic incumbents in four House districts. Republican Edgar Johansson wants to man up against state Rep. Max Tyler in House District 23. GOP candidate Ronald Clint Webster aims to challenge state Rep. Sue Schafer in House District 24. Republican Mark Barrington wants to run against state Rep. Andy Kerr in House District 26. Republican Robert Ramirez has set his sights on battling state Rep. Debbie Benefield in House District 29.
Republican state Sen. John Kopp in Senate District 22 and GOP Rep. Cheri Gerou in House District 25 are currently running unopposed.
On the local front, county Treasurer Tim Kauffman faces a challenge by fellow Republican David Villano for the GOP nomination. Democratic candidate Larry Schulz is courting the party’s nomination to run for county treasurer. District 3 County Commissioner District, Democratic Commissioner Kathy Hartman is seeking re-election. Republican Dan Rosier hopes to snare the GOP nomination to challenge Hartman. Democrat Kathryn Wallace aims to win her party’s nomination to campaign against Republican Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson in the general election.