Republican voters in El Paso County will decide their nominees in at least seven contests at the June 28 primary election after the party held its county assembly on Saturday at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and came away with a few surprises.
Two candidates were unexpectedly nominated from the floor and secured ballot spots. Sonya Rose will face Lindy Tidball in House District 18, and Stephen Elisha will challenge incumbent Lois Landgraf in House District 21.
Dave Williams kept Josh Hosler off the ballot in House District 15, now held by Gordon Klingenschmitt, who was nominated by acclamation in the Senate District 12 race but will face former state Rep. Bob Gardner, who is petitioning onto the ballot.
In a similar circumstance, Rep. Janak Joshi won by acclamation but will face former Rep. Larry Liston, who is petitioning on. Liston held the seat from 2005 to 2012.
Other winners by acclamation were Dan Nordberg, HD 14; Kit Roupe, HD 17; Paul Lundeen, HD 19; Terri Carver, HD 20; and Owen Hill, Senate District 10.
Results in the three county commissioner races stunned some.
In the eastern District 2, Colorado Springs City Council legislative analyst Tim Geitner took top line on the ballot with 44.5 percent, while former state Rep. Mark Waller, seen by some as the frontrunner, made the ballot with 32.2 percent. Another candidate, Sherri Gibson, didn't get the 30 percent needed to be placed on the ballot.
In western District 3, business owner Stan VanderWerf captured 38.3 percent, bumping off three assembly contenders: Jarred Rego, nominated by his boss, Congressman Doug Lamborn, 23.8 percent; real estate agent Javier Mazzetti, 20.2 percent, and Sheriff's Commander Rodney Gehrett, nominated by Sheriff Bill Elder, 17.7 percent.
In the primary, though, VanderWerf will face businesswoman Karen Cullen, who secured signatures to make the primary ballot, and possibly Tyler Stevens, former mayor of Green Mountain Falls who says he'll turn in petitions this week.
In south District 4, unsuccessful 2015 City Council candidate Longinos Gonzalez Jr., an Air Force Academy grad, took 57 percent over banker Scott Turner, with 37 percent, and Joan Lucia-Treese, 6 percent.
In a presidential straw poll, 71 percent of the 1,011 delegates supported Sen. Ted Cruz, 18 percent backed Donald Trump, and 11 percent picked Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Also, 54 percent supported replacing the Colorado caucus system with a primary for partisan offices.
At least eight candidates seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate dropped in to give brief speeches. All cited their Christian faith (prayers ended with praying in Jesus' name) and hammered on President Obama, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, whom they're hoping to unseat.
John Keyser, a lawyer, called Bennet "a complete disaster," and vowed, "If I'm elected, Guantanamo Bay will be open for business and business will be booming."
El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton promised to be "your fearless provider," and her colleague, Commissioner Darryl Glenn, gave his take on the immigration issue with this: "What about illegal do you not understand?" and "How 'bout having English as the official language in this country." Both comments drew applause and cheers.
Tim Neville, owner of an insurance agency, said Planned Parenthood is "selling body parts," an allegation that's been soundly discredited.
Jack Graham, Fort Collins businessman and former Colorado State University athletic director, on Monday became the first Senate candidate to submit signatures for a ballot spot. Robert Blaha, a Colorado Springs banker, also plans to petition onto the ballot.