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Republicans replace Colo. state House candidates on Nov. ballot

Author: Marianne Goodland - August 14, 2018 - Updated: August 15, 2018

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The Colorado Republican Party has added three new candidates to the November ballot to replace two who dropped out of their races and a third who hopes to become lieutenant governor.

Rep. Tim Leonard, R-Morrison, speaking to reporters at the state Capitol in this 2016 file photo. (Photo by Ramsey Scott/The Colorado Statesman)
State Rep. Tim Leonard at the state Capitol in a 2016 file photo. (Photo by Ramsey Scott/Colorado Politics)

In House District 25, Steven Szutenbach of Evergreen will vie for the seat currently held by Republican Rep. Tim Leonard of Evergreen.

Leonard dropped his re-election bid on August 1, citing a need to work full-time in order to keep up with court-ordered family support. He had previously tried to get his support obligations reduced, stating that he could no longer pay the support because of his full-time work as a legislator. A Jefferson County judge rejected that argument, telling Leonard his decision to become a full-time lawmaker was “voluntary underemployment.”

Szutenbach has been Republican state Sen. Tim Neville’s legislative aide during Neville’s entire time in the Senate, beginning with the 2012 session and continuing after Neville was elected to a full term in 2014.

Szutenbach also owns a political consulting and marketing business, Optimus Solutions. According to the Secretary of State’s TRACER campaign finance system, Neville was Optimus’ only client, in 2014.

Szutenbach’s LinkedIn profile also lists another current company, Federal Contract Associates, which according to the profile provides marketing and business development consulting to federal, state and commercial entities. However, the Secretary of State’s business database shows that company became delinquent in its business filings four years ago.

Vicki Pyne of Arvada will replace Rep. Lang Sias in the race for the House District 27 seat. Sias was picked to join the Walker Stapleton ticket as lieutenant governor.

Pyne is a program manager for CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) of Jefferson and Gilpin Counties. She also has served as a director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In House District 18, Mary Elizabeth Fabian has replaced Jillian Likness, who withdrew in July because of unspecified medical issues. The seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs, who is running for the state Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Mike Merrifield, who chose not to run for re-election.

Fabian is a tax preparer and consultant with an online institute based in Florida that offers continuing education for insurance and real estate professionals.

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.