Letters to the Editor

Vacancy committee was fair despite McConnell’s sour grapes

Dear Editor,

As a member of the Colorado 8th Senate District Vacancy Committee, I have to say that I am extremely happy with the process that was used to replace outgoing Senator Al White. The steps taken to provide transparency by Chairman Phil Vaughn and Secretary Audrey Danner were well thought out.

Out of the 35 votes cast during the five ballots, my vote on the first ballot was the only one that Bob McConnell received in the whole process. I cast that vote because of input I received from a number of Moffat County and Routt County citizens. After seeing that Bob did not have any other support, I changed my vote to the person that I felt could best represent the district and be immediately effective during this 68th General Assembly, and that person was Jean White.

The original rules called for an initial vote if there was no majority winner, then the committee would vote between only the top two. Input from state party counsel encouraged changing that rule to require voting until a majority was received by one candidate. No one would be eliminated, unless they took themselves out. This would allow a compromise candidate from the entire field to more forward. That is exactly what happened; Jean White was that compromise candidate.

I am not sure how or why Bob McConnell felt that the “fix was in” and the process flawed. He was one of five that did not receive the required votes needed that evening. During Bob’s campaign for this position, he encouraged supporters from not only the 8th Senate District, but from the state, and around the country to contact committee members regarding his campaign and worthiness. He also reminded supporters to let committee members know that they would be up for election as party chairs in their respective counties soon, and that Bob’s supporters would be involved in that process. I myself welcomed and answered over 100 e-mails received on Bob’s behalf, even though some of the messages were very indignant. I personally felt that Bob was running a campaign of intimidation, not one of honor.

During the proceedings, Bob McConnell struggled to articulate his status as a “Recovering Lawyer.” Though I have not visited with other members of the committee, I also expect that Bob’s viewpoint on encouraging “civil disobedience” to the very government he aspired to did not help his cause. I sincerely believe that Mr. McConnell would have been content with the process had he won the seat. His message at this time is not one of encouraging transparency, but one of furthering his goal to intimidate and influence a positive outcome for himself. We do not need political representatives that try and boost their ego by bullying others. Bob now wants to change the rules of the sandbox he chose to stop playing in.

I am proud of my votes on the vacancy committee, proud of the process, proud of the conduct of the other committee members, and am very confidant that Jean White will represent the 8th Senatorial District in an exemplary manner.

Thank you,

John Ponikvar
8th Senatorial District Vacancy Committee Member
Chairman Moffat County Republican Central Committee