Jefferson County authorities jailed State Rep. Tim Leonard, R-Evergreen, Friday afternoon on contempt-of-court charges stemming from a longstanding series of disputes between the lawmaker and his ex-wife over education decisions for two of their minor children.
GOLDEN – Tim Leonard, an Evergreen real estate developer and former candidate for state Senate, has been officially chosen in a resounding vote by the House District 25 vacancy committee to replace outgoing state Rep. Jon Keyser. Leonard will walk into an already boisterous session of the General Assembly Monday when he takes the Keyser’s seat. Keyser earlier announced his intent to formally resign the seat to run for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
Leonard was selected by a 22 member vacancy committee with 21 members voting at a meeting held Saturday at the Jefferson County Government Center, commonly known as the Taj Mahal. After only one round of voting, the vacancy committee selected Leonard out of seven total candidates who had thrown their hats into the ring.
Leonard received 16 votes to Judy Merkel’s 3 and Tom George’s 2. Eleven votes were required to win.
Leonard, a 54-year-old father of 6, ran with no primary opponent to represent Senate District 16 in 2010, but lost the General Election to Sen. Jeanne Nicholson of Black Hawk, who edged out a win by 658 votes. He ran for the same seat in 2006 on the American Constitution Party ticket and was the American Constitution Party nominee for governor in 1998, with Leslie Hanks, currently president of American Right to Life, as his running mate.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from well-known conservative alma mater Hillsdale College and a master’s business associate in real estate finance from DU.
The eight Republicans who signed a letter of endorsement were state Reps. Justin Everett, Steve Humphrey of Severance, Janak Joshi of Colorado Springs, Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, Daniel Nordberg of Colorado Springs, Kim Ransom of Parker, Lori Saine of Dacono and Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch.
The letter was sent to vacancy committee members and was authored by Everett in which he said, “Your choice will determine whether our shared values, our liberties, our freedoms will be defended here in our great State of Colorado. Leonard is a rock-ribbed conservative who will be bold, who will fight and who will never cower in the face of adversity.”
Before the meeting, a spokesman for Keyser said he would not take sides in the contest, and he followed through, making no public statement for or against any candidate.
Keyser did not attend the vacancy meeting.
Leonard said in his speech delivered to the committee that Colorado has a spending crisis, but warned that Governor John Hickenlooper’s plan to classify the Hospital Provider Fee as an enterprise fund is not the answer. He also ticked off a list of what he termed constitutional crises, saying the biggest one was federal overreach, threatening the 10th Amendment.
He told The Statesman that passing construction defect reform, fixing problems with health care and transportation and reducing employer mandates are among his priorities.
Leonard plans to be sworn in Monday, so that residents of the district aren’t without representation for any period of time.