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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 2, 20183min1524

Out in Colorado’s vast rural reaches, finding a replacement for an experienced and knowledgeable county clerk ain’t easy. Unlike in the state’s metro areas, where there always seems to be a steady supply of upward-bound office seekers, there just aren’t that many people to begin with in farm and ranch communities in sparsely populated counties in the high country and the eastern plains.

Which helps explain why voters in a number of those counties have invoked their right to opt out of the state’s constitutional term limits. The law, which generally holds elected officials to two terms or eight years consecutively in office, makes it tough for some counties to fill key posts. So, they’ve let some officeholders stay on the job longer.

In some cases, a lot longer — as Colorado Secretary of State’s Office communications chief Lynn Bartels pointed out in a blog post earlier this week. Bartels notes how Crowley County Clerk Lucile Nichols, for example, began working in the Clerk & Recorder’s office as a staffer in 1972 and was first elected clerk in 1994. Bent County Clerk Patti Nickell has been in office for 32 years.

Colorado Counties Inc. keeps a rolling list of counties that have waived or extended term limits for clerks and other elected officials over the years. Crowley lifted limits for all elected officials in 1998; Bent did so for its assessor, clerk and recorder, coroner, sheriff and treasurer in 1999.

Now, some of the longest-serving clerks are exercising term limits of their own: They’re retiring. Writes Bartels:

“…(W)hat makes 2018 unusual is the number of longtime clerks who are saying goodbye to registering vehicles, running elections, recording documents and many, many, more duties.

Others who are retiring after this year include Otero County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy, who will also have spent 43 years in the office, and Washington County Clerk Garland Wahl, who was first elected to the post in 1982.

It amounts to quite a brain drain. Bartels quotes Secretary of State Wayne Williams: “We are losing decades of experience.”



Hal BidlackHal BidlackOctober 11, 201721min305

We have just seen a week in which a Republican United States senator and our president engaged in a very strange and very public squabble, unthinkable in previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican. Sen. Corker from Tennessee took a swipe at the president, who promptly whipped out his phone to tweet a childish and petty attack at a senator of his own party. That senator then tweeted back a comment comparing the White House to a day care center without proper supervision.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 12, 20179min2105

After cutting a provocative path though Colorado’s political scene for half a decade, conservative spinmeister Jonathan Lockwood pulled up stakes and decamped for a strange land with strange customs, a place unaccustomed to his rapid-fire, unrelenting attacks on liberals and his take-no-prisoners approach to making a point — a place called Oregon.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 25, 20175min296

The Unity Party of Colorado decided at its first meeting as an official minor political party that it wants unaffiliated voters to have the chance to vote in its primaries — and the party's founder welcomes a primary challenger in his run for governor next year. The party also tripled the number of candidates running under its banner, party officials announced last week, albeit growing the field from one declared candidate to three.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 17, 20178min332

Declaring that the 5th Congressional District needs someone who will "fight for what he knows is right" and not just vote the right way, Darryl Glenn, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in Colorado last year, announced on Monday that he's running for the seat held by incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, another Colorado Springs Republican.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 9, 20175min289

After logging more than 1,000 members earlier this week, the Unity Party officially became a minor party in Colorado, Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced, and its founder couldn’t be happier. “This is very exciting,” said Bill Hammons, who has appeared on the ballot four times on the ticket and is running for governor in next year’s election. He’s also the state and national chairman of the party.