This past Saturday many Colorado county political parties held their biennial assemblies for the purpose of approving resolutions and nominating candidates for the primary ballot. For the fifth consecutive time, I attended the Jefferson County Republican Assembly as a voting delegate. The new and spacious Lakewood church venue was needed, with more than 1,200 certified delegates in attendance.
The strong turnout was most impressive in terms of first-time delegates, which an impromptu show of hands revealed made up somewhere around two-thirds of those attending north Jeffco’s Senate District 19 assembly. Similar anecdotes and reports from other districts suggest the large-scale infusion of fresh grassroots political blood was a countywide phenomenon. Not a good sign for the Obama administration from a major swing county in a major swing state.
How that translates to the local county and state legislative races remains to be seen. But the fact that so many showed up to participate in the process on a beautiful Colorado weekend when virtually every race to be determined was uncontested (though getting to hear of County Commissioner John Odom‘s rock-solid fiscally conservative principles and his lighthearted “The Bald Truth” campaign theme idea were a highlight) — well, it speaks volumes.
The only exception of a contested race was House District 22 in south Jeffco, where my conservative friend Justin Everett bested Loren Bauman 58 to 42 percent. The rules of the game state that a candidate must earn at least 30 percent to win a spot on the June 26 primary ballot, or else try to collect signatures to petition on. As a result of the assembly outcome, Everett’s name will appear on the ballot’s top line. From the campaign press release:
On the victory, Everett said he was surprised, but: “We were honored and humbled with the convincing victory at the House District 22 Assembly.”
When asked about why he thought the margin of victory was so great, Everett opined: “Our message that ‘Conservative Values’ are in fact ‘American Values’ seemed to resonate with the delegates today.”
Everett continued to say about the win: “That as Republicans, we must paint in bold colors, not pale pastels and make it unmistakably clear where we stand on the issues – was clearly the message that the delegates wanted to hear”.
The candidate’s principled conservative leadership and proven commitment to the causes of limited, constitutional government and student-centered education reform made me proud to join a distinguished list of Everett’s personal endorsements.
As Colorado Republicans look to take control of the state senate and expand their narrow grip on the state house, no seat may be safer than HD 22. Therefore, the primary is THE race. In three months we will know with near absolute certainty who the district’s next representative will be. Majorities matter, but so do principles. That’s why I support the most conservative credible candidate in this contest. Everett will add not only business experience and savvy but also a sturdy spine to the GOP legislative caucus.
While the HD 22 race is unique in Jeffco this year, it has paled next to a couple of other primary contests further south along the Front Range. A featured column in the latest Colorado Statesman — copies of which were handed out, as always, at the Assembly — highlighted the state’s top 12 legislative races for 2012.
At the top of the list is the intraparty El Paso County (Colorado Springs) showdown between House Majority Amy Stephens and fellow Republican Representative Marsha Looper, drawn into the same HD 19 boundaries by a Democrat-friendly redistricting process. Saturday’s El Paso assembly proved the heated competition lived up to its billing, as Looper edged Stephens by only 10 votes out of nearly 300 cast. At Number 6 on the Statesman‘s list, grassroots insurgent and rising star Owen Hill scored a stronger 64%-36% win over sitting Representative Larry Liston in the Senate 10 GOP primary contest.
The dynamics of those two El Paso County primary races provide some potentially colorful story lines and some fascinating insights into the dynamics of various Republican coalitions and interests. But to me, HD 22 presents a strong and clear conservative choice. I hope to see Justin Everett join other great candidates from my neck of the woods — like Lang Sias, Libby Szabo and Robert Ramirez — on the general election ballot and surging to victory in November.