But while you're sitting on the porch sipping your iced tea, or getting ready for that August road trip to Paradise, or clipping the bounties of the garden for dinner, or shuffling your children to tennis lessons, think about this:
A small number of extremists hope you stay as far away from the voting booth as possible on Aug. 8. So few people are expected to vote in Tuesday's Republican primary that just a few thousand supporters could make Betty Beedy the most powerful elected official in El Paso County.
Don't let this happen.
Vote for Tom Huffman, Jeri Howells and Chuck Brown
The most important local Republican races are the three contested seats for the GOP nomination for El Paso County Board of Commissioners.
These County Commissioners directly oversee 21 major government departments, and their policy- setting power directly impacts everything from community corrections, to determining what kind of health care poor children receive, to overseeing foster care services, to protecting our long-term water supply.
Commissioner Betty Beedy, who is up for reelection, wants control of it all.
But Beedy's not satisfied with just her own vote. This year she has recruited candidates Rich Brenner and Michael Hudgins to run against her bitter foes, incumbents Chuck Brown and Jeri Howells.
Howells represents the southern part of the county, including the Fountain Valley and Brown represents west-central Colorado Springs, including the Broadmoor neighborhood and the North End.
Beedy is being challenged by Republican Tom Huffman, a pro-gun dentist who, though embracing many of the same ultraconservative tenets as Beedy, promises he will bring a certain decorum back to county politics.
Since she was elected four years ago, Beedy has rightfully taken a beating from the local and national press on her extreme and embarrassing stances, including labeling divorced moms who date as "sluts"; characterizing Martin Luther King, Jr. as nothing better than a philanderer; and, on national television, suggesting that only white people are normal.
Beedy and Brenner have at least attended candidates' forums and publicly stated their positions. Hudgins, meanwhile, has remained hidden from view.
But if Beedy has her way, she will reduce county government to ashes. Hard-working county employees will leave in droves and essential services will be slashed.
Because of this, we agree with the Committee for Responsible County Government, a bipartisan grassroots watchdog group that has been monitoring county government for the past three years. This group has endorsed incumbents Chuck Brown and Jeri Howells, and Beedy challenger Tom Huffman. These three also have the Independent's endorsement.
No endorsement possible in state Senate District 10 race, state Rep. Ron May vs. Douglas Bruce
The state's Republican and Democratic leaders are terrified that anti-tax terrorist Douglas Bruce will be elected to public office. Bruce's representation would undoubtedly tarnish beyond recognition the hallowed halls of Colorado's State Senate.
So we are disillusioned and even alarmed by Rep. May's behavior during his effort to replace the always-accessible Senate President Ray Powers, who has long represented the east-central Colorado Springs senate district. May, a longtime politician -- eight years in the House of Representatives and four years from 1981 to 1985 as a Colorado Springs City Councilman -- has shown that he is completely out of touch with his constituents. He has ignored media requests for interviews, has refused to participate in candidates' surveys and has refused to participate in the only two scheduled pre-primary candidates' forums -- one of those sponsored by four local prominent Republican clubs.
Meanwhile, May is the recipient of suitcases full of special interest cash -- much of it non-local -- that have been flooding in, not because of his distinguished service in the state House, but because of fears that Bruce will beat him. May's message to constituents is unsettlingly clear -- he is the willing toady of the special interest lobby.
While May is lame, Bruce is a looming disaster. In the matter of Douglas Bruce, make no mistake: Bruce's claims of being an "unpolitician" and a man of the people who just wants to cut taxes are disingenuous. What he really wants is to bring government to a screeching halt. The Colorado Springs landlord has no more use for the common people who happen to live on the planet he inhabits than the poor tenants who are unfortunate enough to rent from him.
For the past decade, Bruce has heaped rude and intimidating abuse on everyone -- Republican and Democrat alike -- especially those with whom he now claims he wants to work. Moreover, during this campaign Bruce has repeatedly refused to be interviewed by the Independent. If he can't stand being asked tough questions, he should find another profession.
We will not endorse Bruce and cannot endorse May's despicable no-show campaign. Vote your conscience in this race but keep in mind that, come November, you will have a chance to vote for Democrat Daniel Tafoya in the general election.
House District 22, David Schultheis vs. Kent Olvey
Schultheis failed to unseat state Rep. Marcy Morrison two years ago, and now that Morrison is term-limited from running again, Schultheis is back with a vengeance.
A pal of James Dobson, Schultheis serves with the Focus on the Family President as a member of the ultra-secret, ultraconservative Council for National Policy and is accustomed to stealth campaigns. He opposes abortion of all kinds and any gun control measures. He wants to use tax dollars to send children to religious schools and believes unrestrained sprawl is just dandy.
But Schultheis doesn't have the guts to show up anywhere -- including at Republican-sponsored forums -- to tell people why he wants to represent them.
Olvey, who echoes many of Schultheis' stances, though not to the extreme of his opponent, at least shows up to explain his views.
Poll after poll shows that a majority of Coloradans support closing gun law loopholes. Likewise Coloradans overwhelmingly want to enact measures to reduce the creeping sprawl that has become the bane of Colorado. They have twice overwhelmingly rejected school vouchers. And, despite a vocal minority, abortion is not what most people debate over dinner.
Because of his positions on guns, sprawl, vouchers and abortion -- which are clearly out of sync with the majority of the people of Colorado and the district he wants to represent -- we likewise cannot endorse Olvey in this race. But because of his willingness to appear in public, we at least applaud his respect for the system. We hope that if he wins the primary he will consider taking less extremist stances to better represent those constituents he says he wants to represent.
We offer no endorsement, though Olvey is clearly the better choice.
In November, the winner will face off against former Manitou Springs Councilman Michael Merrifield, the Democrat in the race who has a decidedly different approach to guns, abortion, vouchers and sprawl than either of his Republican opponents.
Vote for state Rep. Richard Decker in House District 19
David Stence, a newcomer whose candidacy spells stealth, stealth, stealth, has refused to participate in public candidates' forums, operating beneath the radar. He was reportedly recruited to challenge freshman Republican lawmaker Decker in the southern El Paso County district because Decker voted against deregulating Qwest, formerly U.S. West Communications. Decker also disagreed with, and thus bravely voted against, Gov. Bill Owens' pseudo-Education Reform package, for which the former teacher withstood substantial heat and political pressure for voting his conscience. For no other reason, we support Decker's reelection. No one should be punished because a powerful special interest telecommunications political action committee did not like one of his votes.
The winner will face Democrat Don Davidson in November.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, Aug. 8. Call 575-VOTE if you need to find out the location of your polling place.
If you don't want to wait until election day, you can vote early from now until the Aug. 8 primary. You must have registered to vote on or before July 10 to be eligible, and unaffiliated voters must affiliate with a party when they show up to cast their vote. (You can switch back the next day if you want.)
Early voting is being conducted between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the following locations:
Centennial Hall at 200 S. Cascade Ave.
The East Library at 5550 N. Union Blvd.
The Chapel Hills Mall on the north side, between JC Penney and Mervyn's
In Widefield at 115 Fontaine Blvd.
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