Election 2018LegislatureNews

“Skinny” Winkler is now Rep. Winkler; Lebsock vacancy filled

Author: Marianne Goodland - March 29, 2018 - Updated: March 31, 2018

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Rep. Alexander “Skinny” Winkler takes the oath of office Thursday administered by Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran of Denver. (Photo by Marianne Goodland/Colorado Politics)

DENVER — Alexander “Skinny” Winkler was sworn in Thursday morning to fill the vacancy in Colorado’s House District 34 in Adams County.

Winkler, a Northglenn Republican, was elected by a GOP House District 34 vacancy committee on March 23 in a narrow one-vote win over Casey Cole of Thornton. Winkler will serve for the remaining 41 days of the 2018 session.

Winkler’s very first vote on Thursday was on the session’s most important bill: the Long Appropriations Bill. He voted against it, along with 21 fellow Republicans.

The vacancy was created when the House expelled then-Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock of Thornton over allegations he had sexually harassed five women, including fellow Rep. Faith Winter of Westminster. Lebsock first apologized to Winter but thereafter denied the incidents had taken place. He also issued a 28-page manifesto that detailed the alleged sex lives of his victims, a document he provided to the other 64 members of the House the day before the session started.

The issuing of the manifesto was viewed as retaliation by many House members, including House Majority Leader KC Becker, who formally called for his expulsion on Feb. 27. Retaliation is a violation of the General Assembly’s workplace harassment policy. Lebsock was booted on a 52-9 vote, with 16 Republicans voting with the remaining 36 Democrats.

Lebsock changed his party affiliation barely an hour before the expulsion vote, switching the seat from Democrat to Republican. Democrats, including state party Chair Morgan Carroll, indicated they might file a legal challenge but in the end decided their efforts would be better served by working to regain the seat in November. The seat has been held by Democrats for at least the last 30 years, although the district’s demographics have changed, with active unaffiliated voters outnumbering Democrats by a margin of 15,660 to 13,716, and Republicans trailing with 9,499 active voters.

Winkler is a small business owner with a company that does sound production. He is also a musician and has played drums and keyboards professionally.

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New House Rep. Alexander “Skinny” Winkler shows off his front-row seat to his daughter. (Photo by Marianne Goodland/Colorado Politics)

He was accompanied to his swearing-in Thursday by his wife and three young children, calling them his inspiration and why he works hard at his business.

Winkler admitted he is no fan of big government and lists as one of his goals as reducing the size of government. During the vacancy committee meeting last week, Winkler touted both his conservative credentials and a willingness to work across the aisle. He said he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and will be a conservative vote in the House. He also reportedly said he would not have voted to expel Lebsock.

Winkler has filed to run for the House District 34 seat for November’s election. He ran for the seat in 2014 but lost to Lebsock by nine percentage points.

By the way, “Skinny” is part of his official title as declared by Secretary of State Wayne Williams in the proclamation affirming his election.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.