The Colorado Republican State Assembly and the other Higher Assemblies are now history. The Republican Assemblies were held April 8-9, 2022 in Colorado Springs. The assemblies were lively and stand in stark contrast to the Democrat Party, who held their assembly the same weekend but elected their candidates through a VIRTUAL assembly. Over 3,700 Republican delegates made the trip to Colorado Springs and actively participated in electing some of the Republican candidates to the Colorado Open Primary. I say “some of the Republican candidates” because some candidates have bypassed the Colorado Republican Assembly and have chosen to get on the ballot through a petition process.
While I am not sure why the petition process was created, but it seems to allow candidates who don’t seem to have strong support within the party membership to get on the ballot. The downside to the petition process is that it is time consuming, expensive and involves numerous requirements. However, if you can afford the time, the money and meet the requirements it is a more certain way to get on the ballot. The nominating petition must be signed by eligible electors who have been registered with the candidate's political party for at least 29 days and who reside in the district the candidate seeks to represent. Candidates who collect the required number of signatures are placed on the primary election ballot. The signature requirements are as follows:
For U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives - 1,500 signatures; filing deadline was March 15, 2022.
For the Colorado Legislature - 1,000 signatures; filing deadline was March 15, 2022.
A candidate who attempted to be nominated by assembly and failed to receive at least 10 percent of the delegates' votes may not be nominated by petition for that same party. The Republican candidates who bypassed the Republican Assembly and have been nominated by petition are:
Joe O’Dea for U.S. Senate. Petition approved.
Don Coram for Congressional District 3 or CD3. Petition approved.
Pam Anderson for Colorado Secretary of State. Petition approved.
Other candidates petitioned but also went through the Assembly. Heidi Ganahl running for Governor is one. There are other candidates who petitioned to get on the primary ballot but also went the assembly route. However, they are in districts that don’t involve Delta County. I’ll focus on the assemblies that involve Delta County.
The first Assembly that involved Delta County in Colorado Springs over the weekend was House District 58 or HD58 Assembly. This assembly was held at the Double Tree Hotel on Friday April 8th. HD58 is a very large District, which includes the eastern third of Delta County (Precincts 15-20), Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Dolores and Hindsdale Counties and the northwest corner of Montezuma County. The portion of Delta County that is now in HD 58, was part of HD61 and was moved into HD58 during the Redistricting process. Julie McCluskey (D) is the current Representative for HD61 and Marc Catlin (R) of Montrose is the current incumbent of HD 58. So being moved into a district represented by a Republican is a good move. There were 50 voting delegates at the HD58 Assembly with eight from Delta County. We were allocated six delegates but two of our alternates were moved up to fill vacant delegate positions. Marc Catlin was running unopposed for the nomination. I was asked to second Marc’s nomination, which I agreed to do. Marc was voted in unanimously by voice vote. I believe we are fortunate to have Marc as our candidate and we need to work hard to re-elect him. The Democrats elected Kevin Kuns at their “convention” as their candidate to run against Marc in the November election.
The second assembly involving Delta County was the Congressional District 3, or CD3, assembly also held on Friday at the Double Tree Hotel. Congressional District 3 is also very large, covering 29 of the 64 counties – nearly half of Colorado. Over 700 delegates were credentialed for the assembly. It was a crowded affair. The incumbent representative is Lauren Boebert. In her acceptance speech, Congresswoman Boebert was energetic and the delegates responded positively to her presentation. Marina Zimmerman, an attorney from Durango, presented a strong contrast. Ms. Zimmerman pushed the issue of the “need for civility.” She also stated “The “R” behind my name does not just stand for rural. I will also represent the urban areas.” She seemed to alienate the delegates and catcalls and boos rang-out, until the Assembly Chairman called her “out of time.” The vote for the nomination was by voice. Congresswoman Boebert received an overwhelming “Aye!”, while Ms. Zimmerman received a very weak response. I would estimate the vote was 90%+ for Boebert. The Democrats have nominated a Sol Sandoval as the candidate to run against Congresswoman Boebert in the November election. NOTE –Don Coram’s petition to be on the Primary Ballot was just approved. He will be on June 28, 2022 Primary ballot opposing Congresswoman Boebert. I thought Sol Sandoval was unopposed in the Democrat primary. But I was wrong – Alex Walker and Adam Frisch successfully petitioned to get on the primary ballot. This is a good thing as it may keep the Democrat voters registered as Democrats and not changing their affiliation so they can vote in the Republican primary.
The Colorado State Assembly was held on Saturday at the World Arena. Credentialing for the event was an arduous process, involving standing in line for several hours, walking through a metal detector and having your bags hand-searched. The long credentialing caused the assembly to start late. Thirty-nine of the 45 elected delegates from Delta County attended the State Assembly. The races that were voted on were Governor, Attorney General, State Board of Education at-Large, Treasurer, Secretary of State, and US Senator. I’ll go over the different races separately.
There was a total of nine candidates nominated for Governor. They were:
Jon Gray-Ginsberg from Frisco, CO.
Danielle Neuschwanger from Elbert, CO.
Laurie Clark from Monument, CO.
Darryl Gibbs from Aurora, CO.
Greg Lopez from Elizabeth, CO.
Heidi Ganahl from Douglas County, CO.
Zachariah Burck from Arvada, CO.
David Justice from Gunnison, CO in a Floor nomination.
Jeff Fry from Hayden, CO. In a Floor nomination.
Greg Lopez received 34% of the vote and Heidi Ganahl received 32 %. Both of these candidates will be on the Primary Ballot in June. The other candidates did not receive the required 30% to get on the primary ballot. Danielle Neuschwanger received 27% and is claiming there were issues with the voting. Most of the other candidates received less than 1%. Whoever wins the primary election will run against the incumbent, Jared Polis.
There is no Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
There were two candidates nominated for Attorney General. They were:
John Kellnor from Arapahoe County.
Stanley Thorne in a Floor Nomination.
This was a surprise with some sleazy politics taking place. A third individual got up as a candidate – Brittany Olson. However, she only got up to criticize John Kellnor and walked off-stage after her criticism saying she wasn’t there to nominate anyone. Stanley Thorne was then nominated. He is a radio talk show host in the Denver area though he has been an attorney. The issue of qualifications was raised. The State Party’s Attorney noted that a candidate must be 25 years old and be licensed as an attorney for the Supreme Court of Colorado in good standing. A review of the statutes shows a candidate must also be a resident of the district for two years and be registered with the political party he is seeking a nomination for at the beginning of the calendar year. When questioned by the Chairwoman on his qualifications, Mr. Thorne stated he was currently not licensed in Colorado but he has requested reciprocity for his license in Texas. Mr. Kellnor stated he met all the qualifications. In the voting, John Kellnor received 63% of the vote, Mr. Thorne received 37%. In an email today from GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown, we were notified that Mr. Thorne has been disqualified due to being registered as Unaffiliated and not being admitted to the State Bar in Colorado. Therefore, Mr. Kellnor is unopposed in the Primary and will face incumbent Democrat Phillip Weiser in the November General Election.
State Board of Education - At Large Seat
Dan Maloit from Erie, CO was the only nominated candidate for this new seat. Dan received nearly 3,200 votes. Dan is a CU graduate and an Army veteran, works in the health care and medical device industry and a single father of three. He looks like a good candidate.
Lang Sias from Denver, CO was the only nominated candidate for this position. Sias received nearly 3,300 votes. Lang Sias is former Colorado House District 27 Representative, 2015-2019. He ran for Lieutenant Governor on the Walker Stapleton ticket in the 2018 election. House District 27 is in southern Arapaho County and includes Centennial.
Secretary of State
There were two candidates nominated for Secretary of State at the Assembly. They were:
1) Tina Peters from Grand Junction, CO.
2) Francis (Mike) O’Donnell from Kirk, CO (Yuma County).
Tina Peters was definitely the emotional favorite, receiving 61% of the votes and considerable vocal support. However, Mr. O’Donnell was able to impress the delegates enough to receive 39%. Enough to qualify to get on the primary ballot. As noted, up above, Pam Anderson petitioned to get on the ballot, so there will be three Republicans on the Primary Ballot in June. The winner of the Primary will face incumbent Jena Griswold in the General Election in November.
There were six candidates competing for the US Senate nomination at the Assembly. They were:
Debra Flora from Parker, CO.
Gina Campana from Ft. Collins, CO.
Peter Yu from Windsor, CO.
Ron Hanks from Penrose, CO.
Greg Moore from Evergreen, CO.
Eli Bremer from Colorado Springs, CO.
Ron Hanks received 39% of the vote. No other candidate received sufficient votes to qualify for the Primary, although Debra Flora came close with 29%. Once again, dirty politics started to happen. Numerous texts started to be sent out to delegates’ phones, offering a number of negative “stories” about the different candidates. Not sure of the source of these texts but they left a sour taste in one’s mouth. As noted above, Joe O’Dea petitioned to get on the Primary ballot, so there will be two Republican candidates in June. The winner of the Primary will face incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in the November General Election.
This ended the voting on the candidates, which left voting on the resolutions. There were 15 resolutions presented to the Assembly. There was no debate scheduled for the resolutions. However, a motion was presented to amend one of the resolutions and after some arguments a motion was made and passed. I’ll list the resolutions in their summary form and show the amended resolution. All 15 resolutions were passed. However, the number of delegates remaining at the assembly for this portion was much reduced. Votes on the resolution numbered around 1,500 to 1,700 (Less than half of the number of delegates originally credentialed in for the Assembly). This is fairly typical – people seem to think the candidates are the most important matter at the Assembly and want to get home. The resolutions were:
The Rights of the Individual include the Right to Life.
We Require Integrity in Elections. This was the amended resolution. The amendment stated that Mail-in ballots will only be available for the Military and for Qualified Voters who request a Mail-in ballot and voting will happen only on Election Day.
Parental Rights must be Respected in Education.
We will Preserve Medical and Health Freedom.
Fentanyl Possession should be a Felony.
American Energy Independence is Vital.
We Must Limit the Governor’s Emergency Powers.
Limit Government Overreach.
The Scope of State Government Needs to be Held in Restraint.
Property Tax must be Capped.
The Right of Citizens to be Free of Crime.
Upholding the Second Amendment.
Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) Keeps the State Strong.
No Country is Sovereign Without a Secure Border.
Free Markets and Property Rights are Best for People.
These resolutions will be put into the party platform. I’m not sure if the full resolutions are available on the State Party website – I could not find them. We had the full resolutions in our packets. But obviously, those who remained and voted on the resolutions overwhelmingly supported them. The Assembly concluded around 6:30 pm.
A I noted earlier, it was a live and lively convention. It is a testimony to who we are that the Republicans met in person. We are a strong, determined group of individuals. That is our strength, and our weakness. We sometimes cling too strongly to our individualism. This was apparent at the Assembly. The voter integrity folks were there in large numbers and extremely vocal. A contingent pushed to eliminate the electronic voting pads, or clickers as some are calling them, on the premise that they can be compromised, just as the computers with the Dominion software are alleged to be compromised. The State Party has a system where delegates can go to the state website and check the results of their votes, using the serial number on the voting pad. We were given instructions at the Assembly on how to do this, as a check or audit of our votes. I just checked my votes and the record indicates the votes I cast for Governor and Senator match the votes I cast. In addition, there are rumors that delegations did not receive all the voting pads they were entitled to, that some did not work correctly and some people not credentialed to vote were voting. I did not see any of this and reports I have read, do not support these rumors. Kristi Burton Brown also discounted these rumors as false in her email today. In our delegation we had one pad that was slow to process and indicate that a vote was cast. With 3,700 devices operating essentially at one time, it is not unlikely that some of the devices were slow. And that is what happened in our delegation. We just needed to give the device time and it finally showed that a vote was cast and counted. I don’t know how many of the “non-working” devices were just slow, but I suspect this is the source of the “non-working” devices. A group has come forward stating they printed off paper ballots that they wanted the Party to use at the Assembly but the State Party leadership refused to consider their request. I hear many people state they don’t trust the electronic systems and they just want paper ballots to be used. They can list many vulnerabilities of the electronic systems but there is never any discussion of how the paper ballot system will work. Who will print the paper ballots, who checks the accuracy of the information on the paper ballots, how are the ballots distributed, how do we validate that only credentialed delegates are allowed to vote, how are the paper ballots collected, how are the paper ballots counted, how do we handle mismarked or overmarked ballots, etc. We are being asked to throw out one system in favor of another without having the details of how the new system will work. I am sure I have already angered some folks with these words. But I have worked on analyzing various alternatives in my Forest Service career and I know you have to have similar information for each alternative to make a fair assessment of each alternative. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” We need a full set of details. Is there any evidence that the elections at the State Assembly was corrupt? No. But it didn’t meet with the desires of some people and they are clinging to their position of the only secure voting system is paper ballots. I will repeat my position – the electronic systems we use have some vulnerabilities; these need to be addressed. But all voting systems have vulnerabilities and these also need to be addressed. The election judges are the most effective protection against voter fraud.
I want to close with a final thought on how the upcoming elections will go. And I am not focusing on the accuracy of how our votes will be counted. I am concerned on how we are going to elect our candidates. You will notice the Democrats ONLY ELECTED ONE CANDIDATE for each race. This means they don’t really have to have a primary. Freeing them up to change their registration to Unaffiliated and being able to vote in the Republican Primary. They will not be voting for the candidates we favor. The Republican’s have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the semi-open primary, but it will not be resolved in time for this upcoming primary. How do we counter this and the legitimate Unaffiliated Voters who will not vote for the candidates we favor? WE NEED TO GET THE VOTE OUT. We cannot allow ourselves to fight with each other on minor and petty differences. It may be personally satisfying to feud with each other but it is totally self-defeating. We need to pull together and elect Republican candidates. We may not think some Republican candidate is conservative enough to deserve our vote but surely that candidate is much better than the Marxist-leaning Democrat? Look at where we are today, under Democrat control. We can only change things if we put Republicans into office. If we can’t be united within our party, what chance do we have winning the election and unifying the state and our country? Let’s pull together, get rid of the Democrats and start returning our country to greatness!
Delta County Republican Central Committee Chairman