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State Republicans OK Shane Sandridge election to replace ex-state Rep. Dan Nordberg

Author: Ernest Luning - January 17, 2018 - Updated: January 16, 2018

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State Rep.-designee Shane Sandridge and state Rep. Dan Nordberg, both Colorado Springs Republicans, smile after Sandridge was selected by a GOP vacancy committee to fill the remainder of Nordberg's term representing House District 14 on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, in Colorado Springs. Nordberg is stepping down from the Legislature to serve as regional administrator for the Small Business Administration. (Photo courtesy Colorado GOP)State Rep.-designee Shane Sandridge and state Rep. Dan Nordberg, both Colorado Springs Republicans, smile after Sandridge was selected by a GOP vacancy committee to fill the remainder of Nordberg’s term representing House District 14 on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, in Colorado Springs. Nordberg is stepping down from the Legislature to serve as regional administrator for the Small Business Administration. (Photo courtesy Colorado GOP)

The Colorado Republican Party made it official Tuesday: Shane Sandridge, a Colorado Springs investment consultant and former police officer, won a vacancy election to fill the term of former state Rep. Dan Nordberg, the Colorado Springs Republican who announced last month he was stepping down to take a job as regional administrator of the Small Business Administration with the Trump administration.

GOP officials had delayed certifying Sandridge’s election for more than three weeks following a challenge by a member of the House District 14 vacancy committee alleging proper procedures hadn’t been followed. A state party panel voted unanimously Friday to dismiss the complaint filed by Kanda Calef, a precinct officer, and give the all-clear to Sandridge, who is expected to be sworn in to the General Assembly early next week.

The 45-member vacancy committee voted on Dec. 21 to appoint Sandridge to the seat through the remainder of Nordberg’s term, which expires next January. He prevailed 23-20 in the second round of voting over Anita Miller. Aaron Novy received two votes.

The Republicans delayed releasing the decision until Tuesday, a spokesman said, in order to give Sandridge, Calef and others a “substantial written decision explaining our reasoning, not only the bottom-line conclusion.”

According to a detailed, eight-page report, the state party’s executive committee found the vacancy committee operated as it should have, including allowing the proper members to vote and delivering notice about the meeting  as required by law — two objections Calef raised after the election.

Calef said she plans to drop any further appeals but maintained in a statement that “party leadership would rather certify a corrupt election than admit wrongdoing and make it right.”

She added that she didn’t want to cost “unwitting GOP donors” more money spent on legal fees or delay the vacancy appointment past early February, which would give Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, the chance to name Nordberg’s replacement.

Sandridge didn’t respond to a request for comment.

When he won the vacancy election, Sandridge described himself as a constitutional conservative who believes in keeping government small while encouraging the free market. A former Kansas City, Missouri, police officer and clinical psychotherapist for children with criminal tendencies, Sandridge said he intends to bring a tough-on-crime approach to lawmaking and work to prevent crime and suicide.

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.