This just in from Christy Le Lait, who's working to keep Sen. John Morse from being recalled:
A mass mailing funded by the NRA and coordinated with Basic Freedom Defense Fund has gone out to voters throughout Senate District 11 supporting the recall effort of Senate President John Morse and urging voters to join up with BFDF to remove Sen. Morse from office.
“Basic Freedom Defense Fund has released numerous statements to the media and on their website claiming to be a grassroots organization,” stated Christy Le Lait, representative for A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, the issue committee fighting the recall attempt. "But we know now that mailers and robo calls going out in our community are being funded by the national gun lobby. This isn’t about local voters anymore, this is about an influential outside group trying to come in here and push us around. SD11 voters need to know who’s really behind this recall.”
Here's the mailer:
Remember when there were breaks between election seasons? Take a moment to reminisce, because that's certainly not the case anymore.
Bill Elder just became the latest person seeking county office to declare ... for the November 2014 election. Elder is running for sheriff, a position that will be vacated by the term-limited Terry Maketa in January 2015.
Read on to learn more about this candidate ... well, well in advance.
Pledging to Bring a Regional Approach to El Paso County
Law Enforcement, Bill Elder Formally Announces
He Will Run For El Paso County Sheriff
Colorado Springs — Bill Elder, currently the Deputy Chief of Police for the City of Fountain, Colorado announced today that he plans to seek the office of Sheriff for El Paso County in 2014. Terry Maketa who is term limited in 2014 currently holds the position.
Elder, with 20 years of law enforcement experience, has served at the staff level for 3 of the largest law enforcement agencies in El Paso County including the office of the El Paso County Sheriff, the City of Colorado Springs, and the City of Fountain. He has held several positions including Deputy Chief and Commander and has critical experience in communications, investigations, patrol, metro vice and narcotics, and intelligence.
As Sheriff, Elder plans to develop a strong team, made up of experienced police managers to work closely with community leaders to provide bold, innovative, and fiscally conservative leadership. Personal responsibility, accountability and transparency, protection of individual freedoms and property rights are core principles that Bill Elder will invoke as the chief law enforcement officer in our community.
“I plan to lead by example,” stated Bill Elder “and to adopt fiscally conservative policies while ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens.”
Running on a platform that states collaboration and cooperation as a pillar Elder and his team will work to bring a regional approach to public safety working with other law enforcement agencies to eliminate the duplication of services in our community.
“ Working with our peer agencies in the region is the fiscally responsible thing to do. I understand that the use of taxpayer dollars is not a right simply granted,” Elder said “we owe it to our citizens to be as effective, efficient, and as innovative as possible.”
Bill Elder lives in Colorado Springs, and is a registered Republican.
For more information see www.elder4sheriff.com.
# # # #
As the effort to recall John Morse continues — and attracts big money on both sides — the El Paso County Democratic Party is holding an event where supporters of the Senate president can thank him and fellow local Democratic lawmakers for their "hard work and bravery."
Here are the details:
Morse, of course, has been a target since shepherding through a spate of gun-control measures during the 2013 legislative session. Signature-gatherers have until June 3 to collect 7,000-plus signatures in their effort to get a recall election OK'd.
Now with another few hundred votes in — and, we would guess, only a few hundred more left to be counted — Helen Collins has opened up her lead over Deborah Hendrix in District 4 to almost exactly 300 votes (2,243 to 1,944). Andres Pico's lead over David Moore in District 6 has slimmed slightly, but still stands at more than 100 votes (3,767 to 3,652).
Assuming things stay as they are, your new Council looks like this:
District 1: Don Knight
District 2: Joel Miller
District 3: Keith King
District 4: Helen Collins
District 5: Jill Gaebler
District 6: Andres Pico
At-large: Merv Bennett
At-large: Jan Martin
At-large: Val Snider
——- ORIGINAL POST, 8:02 P.M. ——-
Current City Councilors Tim Leigh, Angela Dougan, Brandy Williams and Bernie Herpin are out; arch-conservative Helen Collins may have pulled a surprise in District 4; and District 6 is too close to call.
That's the way it looked as of 7:30 p.m., when the Colorado Springs City Clerk's Office released its first batch of unofficial results in the 2013 municipal election. Those numbers also indicate that there'll be no ballot-issue surprises, with TOPS reallocation a yes, and a Council pay increase a no.
The numbers aren't final, with City Clerk Sarah Johnson telling Indy reporter Pam Zubeck before 8 p.m. that some votes still are being counted. (Another set of numbers is due anytime.) But given that city spokesperson Cindy Aubrey was estimating a 38 percent turnout late this afternoon, and that the numbers below represent 35.84 percent, it would appear that Districts 1 through 3, and District 5, are pretty much decided.
Here are the results:
Council District 2
Angela Dougan . . . . . . . . . 4,435 (39.07%)
Joel Miller. . . . . . . . . . 5,936 (52.30%)
Bill Murray. . . . . . . . . . 979 (8.63%)
Council District 3
Tom Gallagher . . . . . . . . . 1,038 (7.66%)
Jim Bensberg . . . . . . . . . 2,222 (16.41%)
Bob Kinsey . . . . . . . . . . 491 (3.63%)
Brandy Williams . . . . . . . . 4,454 (32.89%)
Keith King . . . . . . . . . . 5,339 (39.42%)
Council District 4
Gary L. Flakes. . . . . . . . . 220 (4.11%)
Deborah Hendrix . . . . . . . . 1,865 (34.80%)
Dennis R. Moore . . . . . . . . 1,133 (21.14%)
Helen Collins . . . . . . . . . 2,141 (39.95%)
Council District 5
Bernie Herpin . . . . . . . . . 4,443 (31.65%)
Roger McCarville . . . . . . . . 3,420 (24.36%)
Jill Gaebler . . . . . . . . . 5,031 (35.84%)
Al Loma . . . . . . . . . . . 1,144 (8.15%)
Here are the numbers on Issue 1, the TOPS question (with "yes" indicating support for financial reallocation):
YES: 53,039 (71.65%)
NO: 20,983 (28.35%)
And Issue 2, Council pay (with "yes" indicating support for a raise from $6,250 per year to $48,000 per year):
YES: 14,879 (20.17%)
NO: 58,896 (79.83%)
King will probably get headlines for winning the most expensive Council race. Knight and Miller, both relative political neophytes, are noteworthy in how soundly they defeated Leigh and Dougan, respectively. But the biggest surprise may be Collins, who despite a failed Council run two years ago, lacks the name recognition of Hendrix, who's served as president of Harrison School District 2's board of education for years.
To keep up with the results yourself, refresh the clerk's page.
In the most recent campaign finance cycle from Feb. 24 through March 10, candidates for six City Council districts in Colorado Springs in the April 2 election brought in more than $91,000.
As of Monday afternoon, the day the reports were due, here's a rundown of who raised how much during the period. (These figures are not cumulative for the entire campaign.)
Joe Barrera — no report
Don Knight — $5,764
Tim Leigh — $6,875
Linda Mojer — 0
Julie Naye — no report
Angela Dougan — $5,575
Joel Miller — $2,824
Bill Murray — $0
Jim Bensberg — $3,701
Keith King — $9,875
Tom Gallagher — no report
Bob Kinsey — $40
Brandy Williams — $17,635 (includes $12,500 contribution from her mother)
Helen Collins — $25
Gary Flakes — $200
Deborah Hendrix — $5,225
Dennis Moore — $1,985
Jill Gaebler — $5,820
Bernie Herpin — $3,680
Al Loma — $2,300
Roger McCarville — $7,350 (includes $7,200 loan)
Ed Bircham — $3,000 (from the candidate)
David Moore — $6,285
Andres Pico — $2,800
In other election news, Joel Miller, candidate in District 2, is offering $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest of whoever keeps stealing his campaign signs. He says in a release:
"Some may accept sign theft in a political campaign, and I do, too, to a degree," Miller says. "But when signs are stolen in the number mine have been stolen-more than 150, with three of the signs valued at $25.00 each-it passes the 'acceptable' limit. The theft is a direct assault on First Amendment rights. It can't be tolerated."
Miller says the reward would be paid from his personal bank account, not his campaign account. And he stresses that the thefts have not soured him to the political process, nor the people he hopes to represent. "I appreciate the many good people who live in Colorado Springs who approach politics in a
thoughtful manner with integrity at the forefront of their decision-making process."
Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to contact Miller at
email@example.com, or the Colorado Springs Police at 444-7000.
Meanwhile, to follow up on a blog post last week, Tom Gallagher did, indeed, throw his support to Keith King in District 3.
And to follow up on the complaint from Deborah Hendrix, candidate in District 4, about ballot wording of the Council pay issue, she can now take her gripe to City Attorney Chris Melcher, in light of this statement on behalf of City Council:
"There seems to be a lot of confusion re: who wrote the ballot language for Council Compensation. The City Attorney wrote the ballot language."
Finally, if you're interested in Colorado Springs Pride's voters guide, or who didn't fill out that questionnaire, go here.
Herpin already has two opponents in the race, Rev. Al Loma and nonprofit administrator Jill Gaebler.
Herpin was an appointed City Councilor from 2006 to 2007. He was elected to represent District 4 in 2009. As one of the longer-serving Councilors, Herpin has developed understanding of processes at the city and Colorado Springs Utilities.
The Councilor has at times stood with Mayor Steve Bach. This year, for instance, Herpin supported the mayor's budget and approved a downtown ban on solicitation that Bach advocated.
But Herpin has also opposed actions advocated by the mayor. For instance, thus far, Herpin has supported installation of Neumann Systems technology at the Martin Drake Power Plant, which the mayor staunchly opposes.
Here's the release:
Bernie Herpin Announces Reelection Bid for Colorado Springs City Council
Colorado Springs, December 3, 2012 — Colorado Springs City Council Member Bernie Herpin announced today that he will seek reelection to the Council as the representative for the newly created District 5.
Herpin was elected to the council as the representative for District 4 in 2009. He had previously served as an atlarge member in 2006 — 2007.
Councilman Herpin and his wife of 47 years have lived in District 5 for more than 32 years. They raised three daughters in the district since returning to Colorado Springs in 1980 having left the area in 1965 when he enlisted in the US Navy. Bernie retired from military service in 1985.
A volunteer with the Colorado Springs Police Department for more than 25 years, Councilman Herpin has made public safety his first priority. “I was very pleased to support Mayor Bach’s 2013 city budget which includes increased police and fire staffing,” Herpin stated.
Councilman Herpin pointed to the approval of the Southern Delivery System, which will help provide water to Colorado Springs for the next 50 years, and the leasing of Memorial Health Systems to University Colorado Health as two major accomplishments during his time on council. “Council was faced with making some very difficult decisions during 2009 and 2010 due to the downturn in the economy to keep our budget balanced and to maintain essential services,” Herpin stated. “It is great to see many services being restored in 2013,” Herpin added.
Councilman Herpin looks forward to working with Mayor Bach and fellow council members as the city faces new challenges in the next few years. “We do not yet know what the impact will be should the Federal sequestration occur, but the impact on the Defense budget could result in reduced military spending in our community.”
Herpin brings nearly 5 years of council experience as well as experience gained in the armed forces and as a defense contractor for over 25 years. He serves as a Regional Building Department commissioner as the council representative and as the council’s ex officio member on the Regional Business Alliance’s Military Advisory Council. Herpin has also served on several city, county, and state boards and commissions.
Councilman Herpin has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a M.A. in Computer Resource Management. The Herpins have three daughters and six grandchildren.
Mr. Herpin’s website is www.bernie4council.com.
Leigh has been a strong supporter of Mayor Steve Bach and a strong opponent of Neumann Technologies, maker of pollution-control technology that Colorado Springs Utilities has contracted to use. An avid cyclist, he's led a campaign to encourage cars to share the road.
But Leigh, who has held an at-large seat since April 2011, has often been dismissive of members of the public who address City Council, often screaming "Point of order!" repeatedly when a member of the public speaks for longer than three minutes. He has also managed to miss both e-town hall budget meetings during his term. (The meetings are often the best-attended Council meetings of the year, and are intended to give the public a chance to give input on how their money is spent.) Leigh has said openly that public comments don't factor into his decision-making.
And of course, most know Leigh for his aggressive and irreverent mass e-mails and public comments, which have frequently been cited in local media.
Here's the entirety of today's announcement:
Tim Leigh For Colorado Springs Council District 1- 2013
Colorado Springs, November 30 ————Tim Leigh is pleased to announce his intention to seek reelection in the coming, April, 2013 municipal election. Mr. Leigh will be a candidate for Colorado Springs Council District 1. A more complete public statement will be made after the new year holiday.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler has announced that he is taking his show on the road.
On Thursday, Gessler will be visiting the office of the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder (1675 West Garden of the Gods Road) from 2 to 3 p.m. to discuss what should be done in the future to strengthen the "integrity" of state elections.
In his press release, Gessler states: "By many measures, the November election was a success. But there is always room for improvement. We want to hear from Coloradans about their experiences and how we can make our elections even better going forward.”
Perhaps this will be another opportunity for the Republican to rehash his favorite subject.
Full press release after the jump.
The colorful visuals are now in: The El Paso County Sheriff's Office tax increase measure passed in all but two precincts on Nov. 6, and the western part of the county was the most enthusiastic about it. Here's the map, provided by Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams.
Green precincts embraced the measure, while the red precincts objected to it.
Or you can open the map here: Q1Alrg.pdf
As for Amendment 64, the legalization of marijuana, it too benefited from a motivated west side. Here's the map of those results. Yellow means those precincts defeated the measure. Blue precincts passed it.
Open the map here: Amend64detail.pdf
Learn more about how locals voted in our Nov. 28 story, "Electoral outliers."
Even before the conference room at the downtown Antlers Hilton hotel had filled, it was clear that the El Paso County Democratic Party was ready to celebrate — and election results on the national level certainly did nothing to dim that.
But it was in the state contests where the effect may be felt soonest, since victories in two local House districts are likely to help give Democrats control of that chamber in January. (They appear poised to hold onto the Senate, too.)
In House District 17, where political newcomer Tony Exum, a Democrat, is set to unseat Republican incumbent Mark Barker.
"My goal from the beginning has just been to hopefully help give people access to the things they need to improve their qualify of life; whether that’s an education, keeping their homes, healthcare — those things that impact people’s lives," said Exum in a quick interview with the Indy. "And just to vote smart on things that improve the quality of life; and things that don’t improve the quality of life, vote smart on those things, too. And do a lot of listening and not a lot of talking."
Meanwhile, having defeated GOP challenger Jennifer George in House District 18, incumbent Rep. Pete Lee said he plans to keep doing what he's been doing. "The big issue is the economy, Colorado’s economy, and job creation," Lee said. "So I wanna work across the aisle with our colleagues up there to see what we could do to invigorate Colorado’s economy and create more jobs."
And as far as the civil-unions bill that died so dramatically in the last session?
"It’ll pass," he said flatly.
(Seconds after this, screaming started in the main conference room as it was announced President Barack Obama had retained office.)
On a more nonpartisan note, Democrats — like folks the world over — were drawn to the triumph of Colorado's marijuana decriminalization bill, Amendment 64. With 63 percent of precincts reporting, it enjoyed a comfortable 53.6 percent to 47.4 percent lead.
"Make no mistake: Our victory tonight will change this country," wrote the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in an e-mail soon after the outcome was assured. "We have put a serious dent in the armor of our federal government's decades-old failed war on marijuana. Citizens in other states now know that if Coloradans can change their laws, they can too. Politicians are now realizing that making marijuana legal is in fact a mainstream, majority-support issue, and will begin to champion our position."
That said, local medical-marijuana advocates remained ambivalent. In one Facebook posting, Audrey Hatfield, president of Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights, wrote, "Congrats on winning A64! Time will tell ... Hopefully all the ended friendships and personal attacks where worth it all ..."
Ultimately, and regardless of any hoped-for outcomes, however, Exum seemed to say it best, when he responded to our question about how he was feeling: "You know, I was just happy the campaign was over."
El Paso County Republican Party Chairman Eli Bremer did his best to keep the crowd upbeat.
In the ballroom at the DoubleTree Hotel, the Republicans had hung a stage-wide flag. FOX News was on the TV as results rolled in.
Bremer called up to the stage the Republican candidates present who sailed to easy victories: County Commissioners Dennis Hisey and Amy Lathen, and state House Rep. Janak Joshi.
"God bless all of you for being here," Lathen told the crowd.
But there weren't very many high notes for the beleaguered Republicans. Before it was clear that they had lost the race for the White House, it was becoming clear that they were going to lose their one-seat majority in the state House.
In the two competitive House races the Republicans faced in the Pikes Peak region, they lost by sizable margins: Incumbent Rep. Mark Barker fell to newcomer Democrat Tony Exum Sr. in House District 17, while Jennifer George, the first-time candidate who raised an eye-popping $180,000 from 800 donors, failed in her bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Pete Lee in House District 18.
George's campaign wasn't here tonight; it opted to hold its Election Day party at the Ritz downtown.
County Commissioner Sallie Clark faced a challenge from former Democratic Party county Chairman John Morris but pulled off a victory, securing her place for a rare third term. Rare, because the voters also voted overwhelmingly in favor of ballot initiative 1B, which undid the 2010 term-limits ballot initiative that allowed for three terms.
Not many people were fazed by the result of 1B; County Commissioner Peggy Littleton pointed out that she always thought that the voters would vote to strike the term-limit extension. Lathen put it bluntly: "You can't spend two years telling the public how evil we are, and not expect that outcome."
"We put it back on the ballot for folks to get a second try at it," said Clark. "Obviously, my constituents felt that I have done a good job, and I will continue to do a good job for my constituents that I represent."
And Clark said she's excited to do that job.
"There are so many things going on," she said, such as the recovery from Waldo Canyon Fire, "that I want to see move in the right direction."
Clark pointed out that there were reasons to celebrate, including passage of the ballot initiative supporting the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority extension as well as the tax increase for the El Paso County Sheriff's office. "If people see a value in paying more taxes, and you put it on the ballot," she said, "they will vote in support."
And then, of course, there was the confirmation that House District 16 incumbent Joshi and newly elected HD 21 Rep. Lois Landgraf would be headed to the state Legislature — albeit in the minority party.
"We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us," said Joshi. "This just means that we have a lot of extra work."
El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams has now released at least three rounds of updates, and with about 35 percent of precincts reporting, the local headlines remain the same: Democrats appear to be en route to important victories in House Districts 17 and 18, and both area tax measures look likely to pass.
If there is a new footnote, though, it comes from comparing our results with those from larger stages. Looks like the county is out of sync with the state on Amendment 64 (which the Denver Post is saying will pass) and, of course, with the country in the presidential race (called for Barack Obama).
To keep track of further updates as the night goes on, click here.
——- EARLIER POST, 7:33 P.M. ——-
Despite more than 60 percent of El Paso County voters so far choosing the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket, Democrats have come out of the gate strong in the two competitive House races locally. And the two most high-profile tax questions look like they're winning voter approval.
In House District 17, Democrat Tony Exum Sr. is carrying a 50.63 percent of the vote, as compared to incumbent Republican Mark Barker at 36.29 percent. And in District 18, Democratic incumbent Pete Lee is coming in at 49.54 percent, while Republican challenger Jennifer George has 39.51 percent.
Both the HD 17 and HD 18 races are considered key in determining whether the balance of power will shift in the state House, which Republicans currently control, 33 seats to 32.
As for El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa's County Public Safety Tax (Issue 1A), it's pulling 61.23 percent of the vote, with just 33.55 percent opposed. And 5A, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority tax extension, is up 73.36 percent to 18.91 percent.
In other local news, 59.53 percent of voters so far want to scale county term limits back to two terms (with just 32.38 wanting to keep it at three). But incumbent Republican County Commissioners Amy Lathen, Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey — all of whom have been accused of helping to get the "deceptive" 2010 term-limits extension passed in the first place — enjoy comfortable leads in their races.
Looking statewide, county voters are voting "no" on Amendment 64, the marijuana-legalization question, 51.07 percent to 45.79 percent. But they're backing Amendment 65, a symbolic measure that would instruct Colorado's representatives in Congress to push for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision, 65.15 percent to 27.89 percent.
And it sure looks like one of those representatives will be sitting Rep. Doug Lamborn, who's taking 59.15 percent of the vote in Congressional District 5, easily handling independent Dave Anderson and his 16.73 percent.
Finally, the presidential race in El Paso County sees Romney at 60.19 percent, with Barack Obama at 37.11 percent.
The El Paso County Clerk & Recorder's Office released this first wave of results at a little after 7 p.m. But there still are thousands of votes to count.
In an email this morning, Alissa Vander Veen, chief deputy and communications manager for the clerk's office, explained that the first results would comprise "all of the early voting and mail-in ballots that were processed as of 5 pm yesterday." And anyone who waited in line at their polling place today knows that many people chose to wait until Election Day itself.
To follow the clerk's numbers yourself, bookmark this page: http://www.elpasoelections.com/2012General/results.html.
Oh, and for a little perspective, here's registration data sent out earlier this week from the county clerk. 2012 voting numbers were through Saturday.
The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's office has heard your demands, all you mobile-device junkies.
All you have to do is click on one of two links (depending on your phone):
But, beware, as the press release states:
Please make sure that your device operating system is up to date. Users who have ignored notification of operating system updates have reported problems downloading the mobile app. As with all mobile apps, a poor quality or slow internet speed will adversely impact performance of the app.
For the rest of you, the press release continues, there is always the regular old results page at http://www.elpasoelections.com/2012General/results.html
Yesterday, Denver's FOX 31 brought us word of Manuel Valenzuela, a Colorado Springs resident and military veteran who may be barred from voting.
Here's the TV station:
“We’ve been here since 1955,” said Manuel, who was born in Mexico, to a U.S.-born mother, and moved across the border with his mom and his older brother, Valente, when he was a young boy.
When they became of age, both brothers enrolled in the military — Manuel entered the Marines, while Valente joined the Army.
“I [was] assigned to the 101st Airborne, in Huey, near the DMZ. No man’s land,” said Valente, who received a Bronze Star for his service.
Forty years after being honorably discharged, the brothers received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, challenging their citizenship and notifying them to appear in court for deportation proceedings.
But the 31-year-old Democrat says his experience thus far has been anything but easy. Around three weeks ago, he says, he received his ballot and set it aside. Late last week, he ripped it open and discovered a ballot for the June 26 Democratic primary.
"I was like, uh, this is not what I'm looking for," he remembers.
After Dorrance brought his ballot into the Independent, we called El Paso County Elections Manager Liz Olsen. Olsen explained that based on markings on the envelope (which contains no postage stamp) she believes the ballot was mailed back in June. But it's possible that it got misplaced, or was lost in the mail for a time. Olsen's computer also showed that a November election ballot had been mailed to Dorrance, though Dorrance says he hasn't received one.
Dorrance has tried to get a replacement ballot at the county clerk's office, but says he was told that a glitch in the computer system wouldn't allow one to be printed. He's been told to wait for a second mail ballot to be sent to him, but says he may just try to vote at an early voting site.
One would hope that most voters aren't experiencing the same difficulties as Dorrance.
Ordinarily, Olsen says mail ballot voters who don't receive a November ballot can simply go down to a county clerk's office and get a replacement ballot through election day, or bring an ID to an early voting site through Friday and vote there.
If you've long been registered for mail ballots and haven't yet received one, Olsen suggests getting a replacement ballot or going to an early voting site.