Those hoping for some local political theater in the Republican Party this spring had their hopes dashed — or maybe just diminished — by an announcement Tuesday that Jim Bensberg, currently a county commissioner, will not seek the party’s nomination to become county treasurer in 2010.
Bensberg made his announcement at the El Paso County GOP headquarters to a small audience consisting of a few reporters, fellow Commissioner Amy Lathen, party Chair Kay Rendleman and county Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink, who is also seeking the treasurer seat. Bensberg said his real aspiration is to be elected to the state House in 2012, and that he did not want to put the party through a costly and divisive primary.
“I really believe my skills and background are better suited to serve in the Legislature,” Bensberg said, explaining he intends to seek the seat now held by Rep. Larry Liston, who would be prevented by term limits from running again in 2012.)
Bensberg filed paperwork Oct. 30 with the state to run for treasurer. He said Tuesday that he did not know at the time that Balink would be filing to run for the same seat days later. Both men are prevented by term limits from running for their current positions again.
Similar reasoning explains some other GOP shuffling: Treasurer Sandra Damron and Commissioner Wayne Williams, both term limited, are seeking the Republican nomination for county clerk and recorder, competing with election activist Charles Corry.
El Paso County Public Trustee Thomas Mowle, also seeking the clerk and recorder position, is currently the only Democrat seeking county-wide office.
While Bensberg’s new choice for elected office could have a higher profile, it’s definitely lower pay scale — the treasurer position pays $87,000 a year, compared to $30,000 a year for the state House, which is theoretically a part-time gig.