Larimer Commissioner Lew Gaiter throws hat in ring for Republican gubernatorial nod

Author: Ernest Luning - March 7, 2017 - Updated: March 7, 2017

Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III announced his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination on Sunday, March 5, 2017. (Photo via Flickr)
Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III announced his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination on Sunday, March 5, 2017. (Photo via Flickr)

Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter joined the race for the Republican nomination for governor of Colorado this week, saying he wants to mend all manner of divisions — particularly between rural and urban dwellers — and to make sure the entire state is enjoying the economic recovery.

“Our great country has been hit with a cancer which seeks to divide us and, unfortunately, our state is not immune from this disease,” Gaiter said in a statement announcing his run. “My primary goal is to take the experiences and relationships of the last several years and work with my fellow Coloradans to bridge the divide across the things which separate us.”

Gaiter held a small, private announcement on Sunday in Livermore at a party celebrating his wife’s retirement from the Larimer County public trustee’s office. He plans to make a bigger splash on Saturday, April 1, at the reorganization meeting of the state Republican central committee at Englewood High School.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is term-limited next year. While at least a half dozen prominent candidates from both major parties are rumored to be interested in running, only a few have officially launched their campaigns. When he files his paperwork sometime this week, Gaiter will join two declared Republican candidates, former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, R-Castle Rock, and Loveland activist Joanne Silva.

Gaiter, a Colorado native, is serving his second term as a Larimer County commissioner and this year again chairs the board. He’s president of Colorado Counties, Inc., and spent more than three decades working in the computer science field.

“Economic recovery is here for some, however not everyone has felt the recovery,” Gaiter says on his campaign website. “There are those among us who are still struggling. There are areas in our state which have not seen the economic recovery so many of us have. Let’s not become complacent with our success and make sure we work to ensure all Coloradans have a good shot at ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’!”

Gaiter discusses his vision of bringing together Coloradans despite geographical and cultural differences on his campaign site.

“From the mountains to the plains, from our cities to our rural areas we have so many things that make Colorado the best state in the country to live in. Our challenge is those things that are our greatest strengths sometime become the things that divide us,” Gaiter says. “Colorado is an eclectic state and that is a great thing. As we learn to value the differences around us we make a great state even better.”

Gaiter’s father, Lew Gaiter, Jr., known as “Cool Lew” and a prominent, lifelong Democratic activist, gave his blessing to his son’s campaign before he died in late January, The Loveland Reporter-Herald reported.

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, last year’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee, and state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, attended Gaiter’s announcement and are supporting his campaign.

Gaiter is a past president and board member of Christian Home Educators of Colorado and was a member of the Loveland Volunteer Ski Patrol for 25 years.

He and his wife, Jeannette, have been married for 35 years. They have nine children and five grandchildren.

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.