We'll be sorting through the details in the days ahead, but several important messages came out of the El Paso County political party assemblies Saturday.
First, contrary to what his campaign leaders had been insisting, Sheriff Terry Maketa did not wrap up the Republican nomination for a third and final term, with challenger Jake Shirk, the Monument police chief, earning nearly 45 percent of the GOP delegates votes in that race. That guarantees the two of them will be on the Aug. 10 primary ballot.
Also at the Republican assembly, County Commissioner Wayne Williams took a major step toward the GOP nomination for county clerk and recorder, easily defeating current County Treasurer Sandra Damron and Dr. Charles Corry. Damron and Corry received enough votes to petition their way onto the ballot, but that's the only way they can face Williams in the August primary.
Meanwhile, in the Democrats' local gathering at Palmer High School, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff picked up enough previously uncommitted delegates to defeat Sen. Michael Bennet for the most support in the U.S. Senate race from Dems in El Paso County. Bennet had prevailed locally over Romanoff in the mid-March caucuses here by about 51-41 percent, but that reversed at the assembly.
There was no official statewide tally between Bennet and Romanoff, just unofficial totals from delegates chosen for the state Democratic convention next month. But Romanoff built strong margins at similar county assemblies in the Denver area and Pueblo, enhancing the likelihood that he'll earn the top ballot spot for the Aug. 10 primary.