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The Statewide Primary Election – Who is on the Republican Ballot in Delta County?

The statewide primary election is coming up – the official date is Tuesday June 25, 2024.  Since Colorado has a mail-in ballot system, the ballots will be sent out several weeks prior to the actual election date.  We will be receiving our ballots the week of June 3rd, 2024.  Because of Proposition 108 – the Unaffiliated Elector Initiative, which was passed in 2016, Unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in the Democrat or the Republican primary election.  Some people call this a semi-open primary; some call it a semi-closed primary.  Either way it is wrong and probably unconstitutional.  The basis of this argument is that it is a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  It is the right of the people to freely assemble and select their own candidates.  Instead Prop 108 has allowed non-members to interfere in the selection of those candidates.  We have discussed this numerous times in past blogs.  The only way this is going to change is if either the Colorado Democrat Party or the Colorado Republican Party challenges it in court and it is declared unconstitutional.  The Democrats are unlikely to do so but the Republicans have filed such a lawsuit this past year and it is in the early stages of litigation.  (The party continues to ask for donations to help with this lawsuit.  I believe it is important to support this effort.)  In the meantime, we are living with a primary election where unaffiliated non-Republican voters can vote to select our candidates for the General Election.   This means that we need to be the dominate voice in selecting our Republican candidates. Republican voters need to vote in this upcoming primary election.


We are recommending that you fill out your ballot early and return it to one of the drop box locations.  They are:

Delta Courthouse - 501 Palmer St, Delta

Cedaredge Library – 180 SW 6th Ave, Cedaredge

North Fork Annex - 196 W Hotchkiss Ave, Hotchkiss

Paonia Town Hall – 214 Grand Ave, Paonia

Town of Orchard City – 9661 2100 Rd, Austin

Town of Crawford – 425 Highway 92 Crawford


We recommend early voting because it reduces the opportunity for someone to vote in your name and the use of the drop boxes reduces the chances of ballot tampering.  You can also sign up for BallotTrax. BallotTrax is a free service from the Colorado Secretary of State that enables Colorado voters to receive notifications by phone, email, or text about the status of their mail ballots, from the time their County Clerk & Recorder mails the outgoing ballot packet, to when their mailed ballot is received and counted.  To sign up, go to BallotTrax.coloradosos.gov.  Enter your first name, last name, date of birth, and residential zip code to access the voter portal or to sign-up.  This is easy to do and I have been on BallotTrax for several years.


The following are the races that will be on the June 25th Republican Primary Election ballot in Delta County, (Note: I’m following the order of races and candidates that will appear on the Republican ballot.  The candidate order was determined by 1) Candidates elected at an assembly appear first, based on the number of votes they received; and 2) Candidates that petitioned onto the ballot drew lots, so their spot on the ballot is based on that.


Representative to the 119th United States Congress – District 3

There are six candidates that will be on the Republican primary ballot.  The first two, Stephen Varela and Ron Hanks, were nominated at the CD3 assembly in Pueblo, CO on April 5, 2024.  Russ Andrews was also at the CD3 assembly and received 17.8% of the delegate votes.  Not enough to be automatically placed on the primary ballot, which is 30%.  However, he also went through the petition process.  And since he received over 10% of the delegate votes at the assembly and successfully petitioned, he is placed on the ballot.  The remaining three candidates all successfully petitioned to be on the ballot.  See the paragraph at the end of the Candidate section for a discussion on petitioning.  The following is a short bio on each of the candidates and the issues they list on their websites.  I’ve also included a link to each of those websites so you can get more detail on the candidates.




Stephen A. Varela – is a veteran, a family man, and a community activist. He served four years in the Army and four more in the Colorado Army National Guard (COARNG), 2005-2013. His service included two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Upon completing his Army service, he took a position at the Department of Veterans Affairs. 


While serving in the Colorado Army National Guard, he attended Colorado State University-Pueblo, and graduated with a Bachelors in Sociology and a minor in Chicano studies in 2013. He later obtained a Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California, in 2016. 

He is married to a fellow veteran, Kayla Varela. They live in Pueblo, and have four children.  He currently serves on the Colorado Board of Education, representing CD 3.  He was appointed by the CD3 Vacancy Committee in January 2023 to replace Joyce Rankin, who had resigned.  He served on the Pueblo County Planning Commission and two early education boards – the Early Learning Ventures Policy Council and the East Side Childcare Center.


His Issues – Close the border, cut the cost of living, protect jobs, support education freedom, balance the budget, restore American leadership, stop the woke agenda, protect rural values, defend the second amendment, protect the unborn.  His website is: https://www.stephenvarelaforcolorado.com




Ron Hanks - retired from the U.S. Air Force at the end of 2017 after more than 32 years of active and reserve service, serving as an enlisted man and as a commissioned officer.  He worked as a linguist in Desert Storm and during multiple operations, including Northern Watch, Southern Watch, and Earnest Will.  During the Global War on Terror, Hanks served as an intelligence officer, performing duties in Iraq, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates.  He served in several other capacities during his career, to include as a treaty escort for foreign inspectors from Russia and other countries, as a counterdrug officer in Kazakhstan working to stop the flow of drugs out of Afghanistan that funded the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and as a badged, credentialed counterintelligence agent.


He also worked in the oilfields of North Dakota. Served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2021 to 2023, representing HD 60 (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont and Park counties.)  Hanks is a resident of Fremont County, outside of CD3; he has rented a room in Grand Junction.


Issues – Border security and immigration, energy independence, American manufacturing, election integrity, traditional education, pro-life, second amendment.  His website is https://hanksforcolorado.com




Lew Webb – retired California car dealer.  Has lived in Durango since 2000.  Married to Laura Webb and has four daughters, sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren. Webb has made southwest Colorado his home for 24 years.


Webb believes in hard work, faith, and responsibility.  He is committed to fighting for his community against governmental overreach, to secure our borders, provide relief for working families, and to protect the freedoms that define the American way of life for our ranchers, farmers and small businesses, the life blood of our economy.


Issues: Build the Wall, tackle inflation, reduce the national debt, rein in federal overreach, improve education by removing federal strings, lower taxes and reduce regulations, honor veterans, strengthen national security, achieve energy independence and dominance, drain the swamp.  His website is https://lewwebb.com




Russ Andrews - a conservative thinker, writer and speaker who moved his family to Colorado in 1994. Russ has served on local non-profit boards and was the chief gate judge for all major ski races in the Aspen area for nearly a decade. Russ has appeared weekly on the David Bach show on KNFO for 14 years, where he has discussed politics and finance. Russ is running for the GOP nomination for Colorado's Third Congressional District (CD-3) to restore Western Slope and Rural Colorado Values. Russ also wants to preserve the seat as a Republican stronghold in a district that most Republican candidates should win by 29,000+ votes. Russ' first priority when he reaches Congress will be to reach out to every other Congressperson and Senator to find common ground on legislation he is proposing.


Issues – Defending second Amendment Rights, Securing the borders, protecting ranchers, utilizing beetle-killed wood, ending taxation of social security benefits, unity in the GOP, rural cell-phone connectivity.  His website is https://www.russ4cd3.com




Curtis M. McCrackin - a business owner from Delta County.  Over the past two decades, he has successfully managed multiple real estate and construction businesses in the Surface Creek Valley. Additionally, he played a role in the management of Delta Surgical Associates alongside his wife, Dr. Laura McCrackin, dealing with the challenges that arose post the Affordable Care Act's implementation.McCrackin's campaign is centered on the following priorities - advocating for fiscal responsibility within the federal government, emphasizing the separation of church and state, curbing federal overreach, and preserving the cherished way of life in Western Colorado, which encompasses access to clean air and water.


Issues – Inflation, high interest rates, fiscal responsibility, constitutional values, church and state.  His website is https://mccrackinforcongress.com




Jeff Hurd – is a Colorado native, a husband, a father of five, and an attorney.  He is running for the 3rd Congressional District because he feels western and southern Colorado deserve a sincere, authentic, and hardworking Congressman. Someone who cares about policy and delivering results for communities and for working families, and who wants rural Colorado to thrive. Someone focused on doing something instead of just being someone.


Hurd grew up in Grand Junction, and after high school went to college and eventually law school. His career brought him to New York City, where he worked on complex matters with and against some of the brightest minds in law. In 2014, Jeff returned home to western Colorado with his wife, Barbora, to raise their family.


Since returning home, Hurd has built a law practice focused on rural Colorado. For years he has worked with—and advocated for—rural hospital districts, fire districts, school districts, and broadband internet providers. Most of his work involves serving electric cooperatives, which are a vital part of rural communities across Colorado. At the same time, he has also served the Grand Junction business community and the broader Colorado legal community in various leadership roles.

  

Issues – Border security, better jobs, empower working families, energy and energy independence, water, agriculture.  His website is https://jeffhurdforcolorado.com


In the November General Election, the Republican winner of the Primary Election will face Democrat Adam Frisch (who has no primary opponent).  There are also a number of smaller party candidates that could be on the General Election Ballot - Libertarian James Wiley, United Party candidate Adam Withrow and independent Frank Hernandez.


State Board of Education Member - Congressional District 3


Sherri Wright is from Montezuma County.   Wright was elected at the CD3 Assembly in Pueblo on April 5, 2025.  She ran against 3 other candidates and received 54% of the delegates votes.  She is unopposed in the primary election.


Wright has 3 decades of experience in education. She has been a middle school educator, small business owner, charter school director, technical college board president, local school district board president, and member of the Colorado Association of School Boards. Strategically led the RE-1 school district through COVID as school board president with a focus on teaching and returning the students to the classroom in a positive learning environment. Experience working with the Colorado State Senate and House, served on the Senate Severance Committee. Active in the Republican Party, served as Precinct Co-Chair.  She has no website.


Wright will be facing Democrat Ellen Angeles of Montrose in the November General Election for the seat on the State Board of Education for CD3.


Regent of the University of Colorado - At Large




Eric Rinard was elected at the State Assembly in Pueblo on April 6, 2024.  He was unopposed and elected by acclamation.


Rinard has been a Colorado resident since age 2; resident of Weld County since 2003.  Married with four children, aged 11 to 19.  Board member at Aspen Ridge Preparatory School, a public charter school in SVVSD, since 2016. Currently Vice President.  Owns and operates a 30-acre horse farm.  Family participates in sport of equestrian vaulting, competing nationally and internationally.


CU Boulder graduate with a degree in electrical engineering.  Current senior engineer at KMLabs in Boulder (since 2009).  Weld Republican Party PCP/District Captain since 2010 and secretary since 2014.  His website is https://www.rinardforregent.com


Rinard will be facing a number of candidates including Democrat candidates Elliott Hood, an attorney from Boulder, and Charles “CJ” Johnson, a former CU Buff and proponent of DEI, for the two open At-Large seats in the November General Election.


Regent of the University of Colorado - Congressional District 3

These two candidates were elected to be on the primary ballot at the CD3 Assembly in Pueblo on April 5, 2024.  Sposato received 54% of the delegate votes and Scott received 42%.




Kristine Sposato – Announced her withdrawal from the race on May 16, 2024.  Kristine was forced to withdraw for medical reasons, related to a burst appendix she experienced back in April, just before the State Assembly.  This was an unfortunate situation that caused this well-qualified candidate to drop out of the race.




Ray Scott - served in the Colorado House from 2011 to 2014, representing House District 54 the first two years, and after redistricting, HD55. He was elected to the Senate in 2015 and served two four-year terms.  Scott was born in Ohio and grew up in Rifle, Colorado.  Scott began his work career with Conoco as a terminal manager and later with Williams Energy in Colorado and New Mexico. He founded several businesses in the energy sector, land development, logistics, sports, software, and construction.  His website is https://rayscott.co


Scott will face Democrat Robert Bruce Logan of Durango in the November General Election for the CU Board of Regents seat for CD3.


State Senator – District 5 (On the ballot for Precincts 1-10 and 15-20.)




Marc Catlin is the sole candidate on the Republican primary ballot for the nomination for State Senate District 5.  Catlin was elected at the SD5 Assembly in Montrose on March 30, 2024.  He was unopposed at the assembly.


Catlin is currently the representative for HD 58.  He has served four 2-year terms and is term-limited for that seat.  He lives in Montrose County and has a varied background.  He was born and raised in Montrose and grew up on an irrigated farm raising row crops.  His family raised sugar beets and Coors barley until those crops were replaced with sweet corn and seed beans.  He opened his own real estate office, then worked for United Banks of Colorado as an ag-lender.  Later, he worked with A-B Lateral, a hydroelectric project proposed by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association until moving to Grand Junction and entering Mesa State College and finishing his degree in Business.  He managed and operated the Mesa County fairgrounds while living in Grand Junction. He got an opportunity to work as the Assistant Manager of The Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association and was promoted to Manager of the Association. He had a radio show on KUBC AM called Diversions, a weekly talk show about water, business and agriculture. The show was on air for over 5 years.  Most recently, he has been employed by Montrose County as Water Rights Development coordinator. 


Representative Catlin describes himself as an advocate for the Western Slope. He promises to continue to advocate for the values held by the people in District 5. Discussions about Western Slope natural resources and economy, guide his policy in directions to improve and protect interests held by the citizens of SD 5. The economy of Western Colorado's is one of his highest priorities. He believes the people of western Colorado are the best stewards of the land and the environment. He promises to stand up and speak out when government or special interest groups encroach on our property rights. His website is https://www.catlinforcolorado.com


Catlin will face Democrat Cole Buerger of Glenwood Springs in the November General Election.


State Representative – District 54 (This race will be on the ballot for Precincts 1-14.)




Incumbent Representative Matt Soper is the sole candidate for the Republican nomination for House District 54.  He will be in his 4th and final term as representative for HD54.  Soper was elected at the HD54 Assembly on March 30, 2024 in Palisade.  He was the sole candidate at the assembly.  He is also unopposed in the primary and will also be unopposed in the general election.


Representative Soper descends from a farming family that has been continuously tilling soil in Delta County since his great-great-grandparents moved west in 1887. Soper was born and raised in Delta and handpicked Olathe Sweet Corn during the summers and worked as a clerk for a local water lawyer during the winters to pay his way through college. Soper continues to work an irrigation shovel and grows alfalfa on his small farm.


He graduated from Delta High School and earned his undergraduate degree from Colorado Mesa University, and law degrees from The University of Edinburgh School of Law and the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law.


Currently, Soper serves on the Delta County Memorial Hospital District Board of Directors, the Colorado Tourism Office Board of Directors, the All-Payor Claims Database Board, the Delta County Museum Board, and the Advisory Council of the Technical College of the Rockies, along with serving as an ex officio member on Harmony Acres’ Board. Soper is a member of the Fruita, Palisade, and Delta Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Elks, and Lions Clubs, and is a volunteer at the local homeless shelter.


Previously, Soper served on the House Judiciary Committee, the Seventh Judicial Nominating Commission, the Orchard City Town Council, Colorado Mesa University’s Board of Trustees, and the City of Delta’s Historic Preservation Board.  His website is https://www.electmattsoper.com


As noted above, Soper will be unopposed in the November General Election.


State Representative – District 58 (This race will be on the ballot for Precincts 15-20.)

The two Republican candidates on the primary ballot in HD58 are running to replace Marc Catlin, who was term-limited after four 2-year terms.  Both of these candidates ran at the HD 58 Assembly in Pueblo, CO on April 5, 2024 and were elected to be on the primary ballot.




Larry Don Suckla is from Montezuma County.  He spends his time and energy as a rancher, farmer and auctioneer, with a history including logging, building, and landscaping. He believes his job is leaving the world better for our children. Larry Don and his wife Julie own a summer ranch at Groundhog where they run their cows. In the summertime they farm high quality grass hay and winter wheat. He also grows a crop of the famous Olathe sweet corn. He understands the value of Colorado Water Rights, and private property rights.  Suckla is a former county commissioner for Montezuma County.  His website is https://sucklafor58.com





J. Mark Roeber is a fourth-generation cattle rancher hailing from Paonia, Colorado. His great-grandfather established the family ranch in Paonia in 1889, just thirteen years after Colorado became a state. Mark has been happily married to his high school sweetheart, Jody, for over forty-three years. Together, they have four adult children and seven grandchildren. Mark is driven by his family and their future in the state, which is why he is running for this seat.


In addition to helping run the family ranch, Roeber currently serves as President of the National Public Lands Council (PLC is a national organization that represents the cattle and sheep producers who hold public lands grazing permits in the U.S.)  He also serves as a Board Member on the Colorado River District (The Colorado River District is governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of representatives from each of the fifteen counties included within the District with the goal of protecting West Slope water and keeping it on the Western Slope.) And he is a member of the Gunnison Basin Round Table (an organization that facilitates discussions on water management issues and locally drives collaborative solutions. The Gunnison Basin stretches over 8,000 square miles of Western Colorado, extending from the Continental Divide to the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers near Grand Junction.)


Roeber’s past experiences include serving on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Southwest Resources Advisory Council (RAC) out of Gunnison from 2014 to 2023.

(The Southwest RAC is a citizen group that meets to provide informed recommendations to the BLM on the management of public land resources and resource uses in the BLM Gunnison, Tres Rios, and Uncompahgre field offices.)  He was elected as a Delta County Commissioner, from 2013-2020, and served as Chairman of the Commission in 2015 and 2020.  He was a Board member of Colorado Counties, Inc., from 2017 to 2020, and served as President in 2019 (CCI is a non-profit, membership association offering assistance to county commissioners, mayors and council members and encouraging counties to work together on common issues.)  He has been involved with the livestock association at the county, state and national level, from 1987 through 2010.


Issues are water, agriculture, transportation & infra-structure, education, health care, limited & local government.  His website is https://www.roeberforcolorado.org


Whichever candidate wins the primary election, they will face the Democrat candidate in the November general election - Gunnison County rancher and former state legislator Kathleen Curry.


District Attorney – 7th Judicial District




Seth Ryan is the incumbent District Attorney running for a second term.  Ryan was elected as the Republican nominee at the JD7 Assembly in Pueblo on April 5, 2024.  He was the sole candidate.  He is unopposed in the primary.  And will also run unopposed in the general election.


District Attorney Ryan has written the following about his candidacy.  “There is a national war against law enforcement, prosecutors, and those who seek to protect our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. This has contributed to a nationwide labor shortage of people willing to serve their communities in these capacities. Colorado has been on the front lines of this war, and the news is wrought with examples of DA’s offices that have had to enlist the help from the Attorney General because of attorney shortages and office-head resignations.

 

During this unparalleled labor shortage, I have been forced to carry out a dual role as both the office head and a lawyer on the front lines fighting for our communities. In these trying times, a rural DA must not only be the general but also a soldier in the trenches. From obtaining trial convictions on a man threatening to kill a police chief, sending four to prison for murdering two little girls, to obtaining life sentences for a man who sexually terrorized a 12-year-old, my 17-year track record with the Office speaks for itself.

 

I am extremely proud of our attorneys and support personnel who work together to carry out the important mission to protect our cities, towns, and neighborhoods in these unprecedented times.  With your support and vote, I will continue this vital mission.”   His website is https://electsethryan.com


Ryan will be unopposed in the November General Election.


Delta County Commissioner – District 2

In District 2, both candidates are new.  Don Suppes is the current commissioner from District 2 and he is term-limited, after two four-year terms.  Both candidates were elected to be on the primary ballot at the Delta County Republican Assembly on March 23, 2024.




Craig Fuller – Lives in the Eckert area and has for the past 30 years.  He is married to Leanne and they are the parents of 8 children, including 3 adopted boys.  They own and operate a small residential construction company, which has allowed them to meet and develop friendships with many of their neighbors.


Fuller has served 15 years on the Orchard City Town Board.  During that tenure the new town hall was built, the Orchard City Town Park was expanded with new soccer fields and a multi-use pavilion and including other various projects to maintain the town’s roads and water system.

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Craig Fuller states he has been a Republican his entire adult life.  He is running for county commissioner because he wants to be sure the taxpayer’s money is being spent wisely, as opposed to the type of spending that is going on in the eastern part of the state.  He has no personal agenda or preconceived notions.  He believes a government official needs to remember that their service needs to be “Of the people, by the people, for the people.”  If they cannot remember that they have no business running in the first place.




Candyce Blair – was born and raised in Delta County.  She grew-up on her family’s fifth-generation apple & peach orchard (Fogg Orchards), where she learned what hard work really means.  She currently is a real estate broker/owner of her own firm, Colorado Homes & Land. She still lives on her family's farm in the Cedaredge area.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, emphasizing Public Relations.  She made her candidacy public on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2023.


Blair currently sits on the Delta County Board of Adjustors and is integrated with the Land Use Code and variances that arise from the code.  She has been attending Board of County Commissioner meetings, as well as Planning, Health and Human Services, Farm Bureau and Club 20 meetings.  Candyce has worked with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering to help secure homeownership for those in need.


Candyce Blair vows to listen to the constituents of Delta County, uphold the constitution, and take on the challenges that are impacting the county.


The winner of the primary race will be unopposed in the November general election. 


Delta County Commissioner – District 3




Wendell Koontz is the sole candidate for the Republican nomination for County Commissioner from District 3.  Koontz was elected to be on the primary ballot at the Delta County Republican Assembly on March 23, 2024.


Wendell is currently the incumbent County Commissioner representing District 3.  He will complete his first term in December of 2024. Prior public service includes Town of Hotchkiss Trustee from 2006 thru 2010, followed by two terms as Mayor from 2010 thru 2018. He has served as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board of County Commissioners. His additional roles while serving as a County Commissioner include Chair of the Gunnison Basin Roundtable, Club 20 Executive Team Member, a founding member of JOLT (Joint Organizations Leading Transition), and a member of the Delta Health Foundation Board.


Wendell is a Registered Professional Geologist and a Registered Member of SME with over 25 years of mining experience. His professional experience includes mining geology, reserve evaluations, federal coal leasing, exploration drilling and geophysics, and property acquisitions.


Wendell has been married to his wife Esther for over 34 years and resides on Rogers Mesa.


Commissioner Koontz will face an unaffiliated candidate, Nikko Woolf, in the November general election.


The Delta County Republicans are hosting a County Commissioner Candidate Forum on June 1, 2024 in downtown Delta at the Centennial Pocket Par, 360 Main St., from 10:00 am to 11:30am.  This is a great opportunity to meet, hear and question the three candidates.  Everyone is invited and I hope to see you there!


I also want to cover a number of issues that have arisen and concern how we look at the candidates in this primary election.  The first issue concerns those candidates that have petitioned to get on the ballot.  I have heard numerous criticisms against candidates who do not go through the caucus and assembly process to get on the primary ballot.  Colorado state statute allows candidates to also get on the primary ballot by petitioning – C.R.S. 1-4-801.  This process involves following some very detailed Secretary of State rules and formats and getting the required number of signatures.  The required number of signatures varies with the political office.  The requirement for a Congressional District, such as CD3, is 1,500 signatures.  For the U.S. Senate it is significantly higher – 1,500 for each congressional district for a total of 12,000 signatures.  The signatures must be eligible signatures, that means the signature of a registered voter for that political party.  In other words, only registered Republicans can sign the petition of a Republican candidate.  Unaffiliated voters cannot sign the petitions.  What this actually means is that candidates who petition to get on the ballot have actually received more voter support than candidates who go through the caucus and assembly process.  For example, in the recent CD3 Assembly in Pueblo, there were 613 delegates allocated to attend the assembly.  There were 574 delegates at the assembly and 536 voted.  There were six candidates that attended the assembly, several of which were very questionable.  The top vote getters were Stephen Varela with 190 votes, Ron Hanks with 182 votes and Russ Andrews with 101 votes.  These three candidates accounted for 88% of the votes cast.  Looking at these results, the top vote getter, Stephen Varela, with 190 votes became the top candidate with 13% of the number of voters supporting him as the candidates who are petitioning onto the ballot with 1,500 signatures.  Now I am not trying to say the candidates who are petitioning to get on the ballot have more support or are better candidates.  But I do believe this demonstrates that candidates who petition to get on the ballot should not automatically be discounted from consideration.  I could not find how long the petitioning process has been allowed but I know it has been for a very long time.  I have read that the petition process was created to allow unknown candidates and candidates that aren’t part of the establishment to have a chance at getting elected.  I can’t find that source, but I believe that to be true.  I think it’s very apparent with our current state party leadership.  The three leaders in the state party – the Chairman, the Vice-Chairwoman and the Secretary made the decision to endorse Ron Hanks for CD3.  Three people.  That hardly seems representative.  Another interesting note is that fifty-two candidates petitioned to get onto the ballot in 2024.  Twenty-nine of them were Republicans and 19 were successful, including Lauren Boebert in CD4.  (Although, she was also elected at the CD4 Assembly in Pueblo as the sole candidate from the assembly to go on the ballot.)  To see the list go to the following Colorado Secretary of State website -  https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/primaryPetitionCandidates.html


I think this large number of candidates who are petitioning to get on the ballot indicates that there are issues with going strictly through the assembly process – they can’t ALL be RINOs.  I know there are going to be Republicans who disagree with me on this.  I just ask that you consider why so many candidates are spending the money to petition.  What I am really trying to show is that we need to look at each candidate who has qualified to get on the ballot, either by the assembly or by petition, and judge each of them on their merits and qualifications.     


This leads me to the next item and that is the change in the State party bylaws on pre-primary neutrality and state party endorsements.  This past September at the fall meeting of the Colorado State Central Committee, the state party introduced a number of bylaw changes.  One of those changes involved pre-primary neutrality.  This new bylaw changed the long-standing policy on pre-primary neutrality.  Here is the new bylaw:

Section C. Republican Candidate Endorsement. No candidate for any designation or nomination for partisan public office shall be endorsed, supported, or opposed by the CRC, acting as an entity, or by its state officers or committees, before the Primary Election, unless such candidate is unopposed in the Primary Election, or the candidate has gained access to the primary election ballot but has not participated in the applicable authorized Republican Assembly/Convention. Additionally, the CRC, and the various Republican county and district central committees, have no obligation to support, and may oppose, any candidate who has gained access to the primary election ballot outside of the Assembly/Convention process. Personal contributions of time or money to candidates by CRC officers or CRC committee members shall not be considered to be “endorsements” or “support” or “opposition” in violation of this section unless the officer or committee member uses their official position to encourage other people to support or oppose a pre-primary candidate going through the Convention/Assembly process. After the primary election is over, nothing in this section shall impair the CRC’s obligation to support the Republican nominee to the general election ballot.


As you can see, the section highlighted in yellow totally allows the party to discriminate against the candidates who petition onto the ballot.  It goes against the spirit of CRS 1-4-801.  This seems to have been done to favor the candidates of the party establishment.  Which is quite ironic as the current leadership wraps themselves in the mantle of being the “grassroots” of the Republican Party.  I believe it is actually intended to create a strong centralized party that is more reminiscent of the top-down party of Democrat Mayor Richard J. Daley, from 1955 to 1976, than a grassroots organization.  In actuality, I believe the state party’s endorsement violates this new bylaw.  Stephen Varela and Russ Andrews both went through the caucus and assembly process.  How can the state party endorse Hanks over these two candidates?  While I believe the discrimination of the petition candidates is wrong, the endorsement of Hanks over Varela and Andrews violates the above bylaw and is totally wrong.


A point of information I want to make.  I am not endorsing any candidates, in order to remain neutral until the primary.  But I want to point out that Colorado has 8 Congressional Representatives and 2 U.S. Senators.  Currently, nine of those ten live along the Front Range.  Actually, with Congresswoman Boebert moving to CD4, all ten live along the Front Range.  Not a single federal representative lives on the Western Slope.  The race for CD3 has Western Slope candidates and Front Range candidates.  I find this imbalance especially troubling.  The state legislature is just as bad, with 75-80 percent of the state legislators living along the Front Range.  It is no wonder that it seems that rural Colorado has no voice.


I hope this blog will be helpful to you in filling out your ballot.  I have stayed within the bounds of our county party bylaws and remained neutral on the candidates.  When I polled our county central committee at our last monthly meeting, everyone in attendance supported maintaining pre-primary neutrality.  I do have definite ideas on who I believe the best candidates are.  If the state party continues to “put their fists” on the scale in more of the races, we may have to come out with our own recommendations.  Let me know what you think.


Our next DCRCC monthly meeting is going to be on June 4, 2024 at the Surface Creek Community Church in Austin.  The meeting starts at 6:00 pm and we try to finish by 7:30 pm.  I am planning to allow discussions on the various candidates.  Hope to see you there.


David Bradford

Chairman, Delta County Republican Central Committee   


PS - Remember you can donate to the Delta County Republican Central Committee, by going to our website https://www.deltacoloradogop.com  Since we won’t have a headquarters this year, donations are critical in helping build up our bank account so we have funds for supporting our candidates in the 2024 election.  An individual donation of $20 is a great small donation.  You can also donate in person at our monthly meeting.  Thank you! db

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Another of your deeply insightful, thought provoking blogs, Dave. Despite your dislike of the several "issues" with the CRC bylaws, you adhere to the 'rules' but do not hesitate to point out and level criticism where the CRC, and others, 'tweek' the rules and/or clearly violate their own rules.

J'aime
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