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Contested House races, another Lamborn challenger, 'Friends of NRA Day,' and more 

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Competition in the House

Now that the El Paso County Republican Assembly is over (see p. 15), many races for Colorado House seats are expected to intensify. That's the case in District 18: Republican Michael Schlierf, a managing member of a real estate investment company, announced at the assembly that he'll challenge Democratic Rep. Pete Lee. Lee had been running unopposed.

You may remember Schlierf. A few years ago, he pushed county commissioners to ask voters again about extending term limits after a ballot question that many found misleading. He says he'll focus his District 18 campaign on issues of "personal liberty or sovereignty," including school choice, privacy and local-level control.

District 15 promises to be interesting, too. Gordon Klingenschmitt took more than 70 percent of delegates' votes in that district, defeating Michael Kuhn and J.D. Key. He will, however, face a Democrat in November, Lois Fornander, and possibly another Republican, David Williams, who has turned in petitions to be added to the ballot. Klingenschmitt probably won't win over many moderates — he's a television preacher who's made national headlines for negative comments about homosexuality.

Also worth watching is District 20. Terri Carver beat out Mark Braunlich and Sue Meals at the assembly, but three GOP challengers have turned in petitions: Miles Dewhirst, Dan Stanforth and Kris Selzer. — JAS

Rayburn tries again in CD5

Bentley Rayburn, a retired Air Force major general, will run for the 5th U.S. Congressional District seat for a third time, the Denver Post reports. Rayburn ran in 2006, when the open seat was captured by state senator Doug Lamborn, and again lost a Republican primary in 2008.

Rayburn did not return two phone calls seeking comment, and so far has not filed his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. Criticized in his previous runs for not owning a home in the district, Rayburn bought a house in northern Colorado Springs in 2011, El Paso County assessor records show.

A Lamborn aide did not respond to an email query about having primary election competition.

The winner will face Democrat Irv Halter, who also is a retired Air Force major general. His campaign manager, Ethan Susseles, responded via email regarding Rayburn's candidacy.

"This is just another example of Congressman Lamborn's weak standing with local voters," Susseles said. "For the 4th time in 5 elections, he is being challenged in the primary." — PZ

'Friends of NRA Day' returns

The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners recognized Thursday, March 27, as "Friends of NRA Day."

In a news release, District 5 Commissioner Peggy Littleton said, "The Colorado Friends of NRA State Fund Committee last year provided 71 grants totaling more than $386,000 to Colorado programs and organizations including El Paso County's Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex, the El Paso County 4-H and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office."

District 3 Commissioner Sallie Clark tells the Indy that the Friends "do a lot of great philanthropic things. They help the sheriff's office with grants on emergency equipment for deputies." — GS

Change at Pikes Peak Bulletin

The Manitou Springs Exploratory Newspaper Committee, a recently created corporation, announced Monday that it has purchased an option to acquire the Pikes Peak Bulletin, the weekly paper serving Manitou Springs, Lower Ute Pass and Old Colorado City. The paper prints about 1,500 copies a week.

Ralph Routon, Colorado Springs Business Journal executive editor and Independent columnist, will serve as chair of the committee and interim publisher of the Bulletin. Routon is a longtime Manitou resident.

The option was purchased from the Bulletin's current owners, Bruce Schlabaugh and Dennis Ingmire. Under the new arrangement, Larry Ferguson, another Manitou resident, will edit the paper, replacing Anthony Welch, who has left for a job in New Mexico.

During the transition, the Bulletin will contract with the Business Journal and the Independent for logistical support, including printing, billing, circulation and advertising.

"Small community newspapers such as the Bulletin are vital for a community to keep its citizens informed and its elected and appointed officials accountable," says Business Journal chairman and Independent publisher John Weiss, who also lives in Manitou. — RM

Compiled by Robert Meyerowitz, J. Adrian Stanley, Griffin Swartzell and Pam Zubeck.

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