Hot Sheet

GOP state Senate candidate Nic Morse wins support of Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson

Author: Ernest Luning - January 6, 2018 - Updated: January 8, 2018

Larimer County Commissioner and former state Sen. Steve Johnson, left, and Republican Senate District 15 candidate Nic Morse, who has won Johnson's endosement (Courtesy photos)Larimer County Commissioner and former state Sen. Steve Johnson, left, and Republican Senate District 15 candidate Nic Morse, who has won Johnson’s endosement (Courtesy photos)

Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson is throwing his support behind fellow Republican Nic Morse, a former congressional candidate, in the GOP primary for the open Senate District 15 seat Johnson used to represent.

“I’ve known Nic for a while now, and I can attest to his understanding of the issues facing not only our county, but our state,” Johnson said in a statement. “He will do an exceptional job representing Larimer County and Senate District 15 when he takes office.” Noting that Morse has served the county GOP, including as its treasurer and the 2016 nominee in the 2nd Congressional District — he lost a bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis — Johnson added, “He has helped others in their election efforts and been a positive influence in the community for as long as I’ve known him.”

Few know the district as well as Johnson, who was elected to the state House in 1996 and won the Senate seat in 2002, Morse said in a statement welcoming the endorsement.

The district, which covers roughly all of Larimer County except for Fort Collins, is heavily Republican. According to voter registration records on file with the Colorado secretary of state, 37 percent of active, registered voters were Republicans, 24 percent were Democrats and 38 percent were unaffiliated.

Morse, a marketing executive, is facing restaurant owner Rob Woodward in a primary for the Larimer County seat held by term-limited Republican state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a candidate for state treasurer. (Morse briefly was running for state treasurer but a year ago withdrew from that race, saying other opportunities had arisen.”

Democrats Rebecca Cranston and Ralph Trenary, a former member of the Loveland City Council, are also running for the seat.

Although he lost the 2016 congressional race against Polis by nearly 20 points, Morse received more votes than any Republican nominee had previously in the district — including Lundberg, who challenged Polis in 2012 and trailed Morse’s 170,000 votes by about 8,000.

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. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.