State Rep. Steve Lebsock says he won't caucus with fellow Democrats - Colorado Politics
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State Rep. Steve Lebsock says he won’t caucus with fellow Democrats

Author: Ernest Luning - January 10, 2018 - Updated: January 12, 2018

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State Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, listens as House Speaker Crisanta Duran delivers remarks on Opening Day of the Colorado General Assembly on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in House chambers at the state Capitol in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)
State Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, listens as House Speaker Crisanta Duran delivers remarks on Opening Day of the Colorado General Assembly on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in House chambers at the state Capitol in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

After being greeted by black-clad cold shoulders on Opening Day of the Colorado General Assembly, embattled state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, said Wednesday afternoon in a Tweet that he won’t caucus with the Democrats, who have been nearly universally calling on him to resign his seat in the face of allegations he sexually harassed a fellow Democratic lawmaker and a former lobbyist.

“I will not caucus with House dems this session,” Lebsock tweeted in reply to Republican Rick Enstrom, a one-time legislative candidate in Jefferson County. “Thank you to several Republican House members coming up to me and giving me hugs.”

Lebsock, who is serving his third term and is a candidate for state treasurer, was responding to Enstrom’s tweeted observation wondering where Lebsock would caucus after a reporter mentioned he had remained seated during House Speaker Crisanta Duran’s remarks about reforming the Capitol’s culture of sexual harassment. (Lebsock disputed that detail, saying he stood along with the other House members when Duran addressed the topic, which has rocked the Legislature since stories began emerging in November about sexual harassment complaints under the dome.)

“You’re a good legislator, Steve,” Enstrom tweeted in reply. “Represent your district and keep working to make CO an even better place to work and live.”

As lawmakers gathered to gavel in the 2018 regular session, a handful of protesters outside the Capitol called on Lebsock to resign, and many Democrats dressed in black to indicate their solidarity with victims of sexual harassment. While Democrats appeared to ignore Lebsock on the House floor, several Republican lawmakers approached him after the morning’s speeches to offer hugs and words of encouragement.

Duran announced Tuesday she was permanently removing Lebsock from his position chairing the House Local Government Committee — a move she’d made temporarily two months ago when allegations were first reported that state Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, was accusing Lebsock of making aggressive, unwanted sexual advances towards her at a bar.

Lebsock on Monday distributed to his fellow House members a 30-page packet of responses to formal complaints and allegations against him that have been aired in the press. He has maintained that the accusations are politically motivated and denies the charges.

Last month, Lebsock released results of a polygraph test he took that he says prove he didn’t do what Winter has alleged, including grabbing her while asking her to go home with him.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


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