Colorado SpringsElection 2018News

A blue wave in El Paso County? Democrats have big plans in next election

Author: Liz Forster, The Gazette - April 4, 2018 - Updated: April 5, 2018

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Electra Johnson (via Facebook)

COLORADO SPRINGS — For the first time, according to party officials, Democrats will have a candidate challenging Republicans for every El Paso County office up for election in November.

After Saturday’s county assembly in Colorado Springs, El Paso County Democratic Party Chairwoman Electra Johnson said there will be three June 26 primary races. Two Democrats each are vying for clerk and recorder and in House districts 15 and 18, she said.

Democrats will also be in the races for county commissioner districts 1 and 5, sheriff, assessor, coroner, surveyor and treasurer.

“There’s no better way to send a message to El Paso County that the blue wave is coming than to have Democrats listed on these ballot lines,” Johnson said. “This is what democracy looks like.”

Despite optimism among Democrats nationwide that opposition to President Donald Trump and his policies will enable them to pick up seats in the U.S. House and Senate in the 2018 midterms, Democrats running for El Paso County offices will be heavy underdogs.

El Paso County is the state’s largest Republican stronghold. This year, 41 percent of registered voters in the county are Republicans to 21 percent Democrats.

Often, the Republican nominee or primary election victor is unopposed in November, but, this year, for example, the winner of the Republican primary for sheriff will face a Democrat in November.

Grace Sweeney-Maurer was nominated as a sheriff’s candidate from the floor. Sweeney-Maurer’s law enforcement experience is as a facilitator of a police training academy course in Hawaii.

“We need to start having Democrats represented in offices across the county,” she said.

Matt Reid, a deputy El Paso County coroner, is running for coroner; Elizabeth Wilkes and Jonathan Herrera were nominated to run for clerk and recorder; Julie Torres is running for treasurer; Sue McKnight is running for assessor; and Destarte Haun is running for surveyor.

Kari Frederick is running for District 5 county commissioner, and Frank DeLalla will run for District 1.

Pete Lee, the Colorado House District 18 representative, will run for state Senate District 11 against Republican Patrick McIntire.

Liz Forster, The Gazette

Liz Forster, The Gazette