The 'Right' Republicans Initiative (Primary 2012)

With primary elections, the Republican Party has the chance to make sure we don't get "more of the same" but put up candidates who really believe in Liberty and Principle over the illusion of power. To that end, I've assembled a list of candidates across Colorado who have a primary on 26 June (with mail-in ballots going out the week of 4 June if your county is doing all mail-in ballots) and need your support in order to succeed. We need to make sure that not just Republicans, but the RIGHT Republicans, are in seats at every level of politics.

However, sometimes politics requires pragmatism. There are several races where both candidates would do a good job if they win the primary, but when there is a tie on principle and liberty, who can ultimately win in November comes into play and pragmatism rules.


CU Regent, At-Large

This year, there is only one statewide race in Colorado. Perhaps I'm a little biased, since my husband is one of the candidates, but there really is only one choice in this race, which is Matt Arnold vs. Brian Davidson.  Matt Arnold is a strong, principled leader. He's a man of character and integrity. Less than two weeks after entering this race, his opponent's campaign went negative and become personal, and has continued that way since then... not terribly surprising, since that is how he conducted himself in his failed 2006 run for this same seat. Matt has stuck to speaking on issues and real concerns -- like his opponent being an employee of CU (an Anesthesiologist at the Med Center and an associate professor of Anesthesiology), which is an incredible conflict of interest. Matt is the only person in this race (regardless of party) with a real plan for cutting costs AND realizing that content is just as important as how much that education costs. Matt is also the only candidate in this race who consistently shows up -- we've been to over 40 (of 64) counties so far, and are looking forward to visiting the rest soon, many before the Primary.

Congressional Districts

District 1 (Adams, Denver)

Colorado’s 1st Congressional District is pretty securely Democrat – in fact, in all likelihood, that is Diana DeGette’s seat until she doesn’t want it anymore. So in the primary between Danny Stroud and Richard Murphy, the question becomes less of “Who can win?” and more of “Who can be seen as a big enough threat to make the Democrats spend money on this seat instead of on other races?” I think that ‘threat’ is Danny Stroud.

District 2 (Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Grand, Jefferson, Larimer, Park, Summit, Weld) 

I have the pleasure of knowing both candidates in the race for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District. Jared Polis’ once “untouchable” seat is within Republican grasp this year. In the primary between Kevin Lundberg and Eric Weissmann, you have two very distinct choices. Kevin is a known entity, with great name-ID and a huge volunteer base; he has served in the Colorado State Legislature for 10 years. Eric is a newcomer, a small businessman and has great fundraising capabilities. Both are staunch Conservatives and both are principled and huge supporters of liberty. They’ve even conducted the most cordial primary I’ve ever seen in 14 years of being politically active. When it comes down to it, in a primary that is likely to not turn out huge numbers (with no other big primaries in the district, save for CU Regent, At-Large), I think that name-ID, rather than funding, will ultimately win the day. Regardless of who wins, we’ll see a strong candidate who actually stands a good chance at beating Rep. Polis – with the ‘loser’ from the primary throwing all his weight behind the winner.

District 5 (Chaffee, El Paso, Fremont, Park, Teller)

Besides CU Regent, At-Large, one of the easiest races to pick sides in this year is in my home Congressional District, the 5th, with Doug Lamborn vs. Robert Blaha. For the record, I’m far from a “rah-rah Lamborn” gal. In fact, I volunteered on one of his opponents campaigns back in 2006 and I still maintain he could do much more in one of the most secure Republican seat in the country to advance our conservative agenda. But he’s a man of character and integrity, and that means a lot. His primary opponent seems to lack both of those qualities, and does a lot more talking (or “blah-blah”, as my 12 year old sister likes to say) than walking the walk. Perhaps most disturbing to me is the fact that he has never voted in an off-year (city or school board) election or in nearly any primary in 19+ years in Colorado. To me, that says you’re not engaged, but worse… how can I count on someone to vote on the “little things” in Washington when he can’t find a few minutes to fill out a mail-in ballot and put a stamp on it for the last 19+ years? Without question, Doug Lamborn is the right choice in this race and I expect him to win it handily.

State Senate 

District 8 (Grand, Garfield, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Summit)

There is a clear choice in Senate District 8 in the race between Randy Baumgardner and Jean White. One need only look at the voting records to determine that Jean White, at best, is a far left ‘Republican’ (I have to use that word loosely with her) and that Randy Baumgardner is a fiscal conservative. Additionally, the way that Jean was appointed to her seat (after her husband, Al, left his Senate seat to go work for Gov. Hickenlooper), left a very bad taste in the mouths of many in the district. It is unfortunate although not terribly surprising that the Establishment would do something that, well, tasteless. If you love liberty and limiting government, Randy Baumgardner deserves your support. Jean barely made it onto the ballot as an incumbent (if she had 6 votes less at Assembly, she would have been forced to petition on). That says something when the Party faithful don’t seem to really want you to keep your seat.

District 10 (El Paso)

This race, in my home district (sadly, I no longer live there), between Owen Hill and Larry Liston, essentially plays like a general race between a Republican and Democrat (somewhat fitting, I suppose, since there is no Democrat challenger in the district). Owen has proven himself to be a staunch conservative, friend of liberty and principled man. He narrowly lost in 2010 to Senator John Morse and is exactly the kind of statesman, rather than politician, we need at the Colorado State Capitol. Some folks just don’t know when to quit, and it is high time Larry Liston retired.

District 21 (Adams)

I don’t know enough about either Francine Bigelow or Matthew Plichta to make a recommendation one way or the other in this race, but I encourage you to look at their websites and send me your comments.

District 23 (Broomfield, Larimer, Weld)

Like Senate Districts 8 and 10, the choice between Glenn Vaad and Vicki Marble in SD23 is very simple: you have a weak, unprincipled, spineless Establishment Republican (Democrat-lite is probably more appropriate) vs. an up-and-coming Tea Partier. Vicki Marble will be an excellent successor to Shawn Mitchell, another strong campaign for liberty and for the taxpayers of Colorado.

District 28 (Arapahoe)

While I know one of the candidates in this race (John Lyons vs. Art Carlson ), I’m not entirely convinced as who would be the best standard-bearer for the party in the race. So I’m offering no opinion—but feel free to share yours.

State House

District 1 (Denver, Jefferson)

I don’t know enough about either John Kidd or James Wildt to make a recommendation one way or the other in this race, but I encourage you to look at their websites and send me your comments.

District 4 (Denver)

I don’t know enough about either Stuart Siffring or David Dobson (no website that I could find) to make a recommendation one way or the other in this race, but I encourage you to look at their websites and send me your comments.

District 5 (Adams, Denver)

I don’t know enough about either Ronnie Nelson or Matthew Zielinski to make a recommendation one way or the other in this race, but I encourage you to look at their websites and send me your comments.

District 19 (El Paso)

Probably the fiercest and most contentious primary this year in Colorado is House District 19, Marsha Looper vs. Amy Stephens. It’s a good thing this district is so Republican, there is no Democrat challenger in November, because regardless who the victor is, they will be so bloodied it will probably take until 2014 for them to politically recover. It’s no secret that I have grave issues with Mme. House Majority Leader Stephen over SB11-200 and HB10-1365, nor is it unknown that Marsha has been on the right side of Liberty with both those issues and many others. This has been a perfect example of a true Republican circular firing squad and I’m glad it’ll be over in a month and 5 days. Until then, we can expect the tit-for-tat and back and forth that has become the hallmark of this controversial race.

District 21 (El Paso)

Another seat that is so Republican there is no Democrat challenger is House District 21, between Lois Landgraf and Albert Sweet (no website that I could find). Lois has great name-ID in the district (as a former Fountain City Councilwoman). I think it likely the outcome of this race will mirror county assembly: 65%-35% for Lois.

District 22 (Jefferson)

This is one of the easiest primaries to pick someone in – my good friend Justin Everett vs. Loren Bauman. Justin is a real man of character and principle and will do a far better job than his predecessor in this office. Loren couldn’t be more of an “establishment puppet” candidate if he tried. Justin knows what it takes to win races and I can’t wait to see him win this one.

District 39 (Douglas, Teller)

In the newly formed House District 39, Polly Lawrence and Lu Ann Busse are involved in a primary. There are essentially three kinds of people in the political world (if you simplify it into broad categories)—legislators, executives and organizers. Polly certainly falls into the first category. Too often, we elect executives or organizers to legislative offices and that’s when things start to fall apart. Lu is a very nice lady, but she is clearly an organizer (a very good one, at that). I just don’t think she’s the right candidate for this job. Polly has principle and the know-how to get things done in the legislature without compromising on principle. I would strongly urge support for Polly in this race.

District 48 (Weld)

In House District 48, Jeff Hare and Stephen Humphrey are engaged in a Primary.  This is yet another “RINO-vs.-Tea Party” race (a theme we are seeing frequently in Colorado).  While Jeff is spending his time falsely attacking the perceived leaders of the Tea Party and spending money like a drunken sailor, Stephen has enough in the bank to make it through the primary and seems to hold principle above childish and factually inaccurate personal attacks.

District 60 (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park)

In the primary between Jim Wilson (no website that I could find) and Steve Collins, we finally have the chance to replace term-limited Tom Massey, the quintessential Democrat-in-Republican-clothing. When we do that, should we replace him with more of the same or someone who will actually stand for Republican principles? That is the choice you have in House District 60, and Steve Collins is the only candidate with the backbone, character and knowledge to actually be a Republican Representative of the district.

District 61 (Delta, Gunnison, Lake, Pitkin, Summit)

House District 61 has a primary between Debra Irvine and David Justice. While the El Paso County GOP is dysfunctional, it appears the Summit County GOP is flat-out corrupt and doesn’t do much to hide it. By-laws very, very clearly dictate that no Party Officer is to be engaged in a primary – running as a candidate in one certainly counts as engaging in a primary. It is unfortunate that former Summit County Chairwoman Debra Irvine did just that for well over a month with a primary opponent while still Chairwoman (she has since stepped down). We need to rebuild our tarnished brand of “Republican”, not pile on and allow corrupt, power-hungry individuals to proceed up the ladders of government. David Justice is a principled Constitutional conservative and absolutely deserves your vote.

District 63 (Weld)

House District 63 doesn't have a primary... sort of. While Lori Saine knocked out all her challengers at Assembly, it appears one has come back for more. Getting a mere 15% of the vote at Assembly, Mike Mazzocco (who you couldn't even remotely tell was a Republican from his website) has decided to petition on as a write-in candidate for this House seat. Apparently he didn't get the message in April. Let's make sure he gets it in June.

District Attorney

District 11 (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park)

Judicial District 11 is a race with the incumbent Thom K. LeDoux vs. Dagna Van Der Jagt. Thom has received the support of many whose opinions I trust. More importantly, he doesn’t fake residency in the district in order to win an election. It is unfortunate that his opponent clearly doesn’t live in the district (her husband is a Republican delegate in Arapahoe County and her children still attend school in the Denver area). Obviously, she her legal residency is not in Fairplay as she has claimed. Additionally, her entire campaign has been predicated on advancing half-truths without giving the whole story (and creating fake Facebook pages for a few of the county parties in her district to only promote her race). This simply should not be acceptable. There have been threats from her campaign for over a month now about “politically damning press releases” regarding Thom which have yet to appear. Could it be that there isn’t any substantive dirt and these are just empty threats? I would suggest they are. I wholeheartedly support Thom LeDoux for re-election as District Attorney and hope you will too.Top of Form

District 18 (Arapahoe, Denver, Elbert, Lincoln)

In my new Judicial District (18), the primary is between George Brauchler and Leslie Hansen. I have gotten to know both of them (and other running for the office before the Assembly) on the campaign trail. A few things stick out to me. First, in District Attorney offices in particular, I find that consistency is key. Second, it’s bad enough to take money from unions (Police Unions, in this case)… it’s worse to then advocate for, say, a county Sheriff to have equal pay to the DA of 4 counties—something that’s hardly comparable. Third, the most important thing in this race is who can beat a tough Democrat opponent in November. I’m proud to support Leslie for this office and am looking forward to voting for her in June.

District 22 (Dolores, Montezuma)

I don’t know enough about either Will Furse or Russ Wasley to make a recommendation one way or the other in this race, but I encourage you to look at their websites and send me your comments.

Look for updates after the Primary regarding the right Republicans running in the General Election!


  1. Sarah, i strongly agree with all your choices excpet that I like Lu Busse for 39, as you know. Lu has spent a lot of time at the capitol testifying as well as organizing and she is a far better liberty person.

    Regarding races you're not committing to, I'd favor Art Carlson and Ronnie Nelson although I don't know their opponents.

    Well done! Between these candidates and those without a primary, we're going to have quite an improvement in the legislature--even if we don't keep the majority.

    1. Thanks Al!

      I agree that Lu is really great as a liberty activist.

      I tend to lean that way on those two races as well, but I can't give as ringing of an endorsement without more information, so I'll stick with "no opinion" for now

      We have many great candidates as well without primaries, and I'll be putting that list up once the primaries are over. It will have some (likely) pretty glaring omissions of Republicans running in this state who just aren't up to snuff.