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Next Tuesday, Aug. 8, voters will make a critically important decision: picking the man who quite likely could be our next U.S. congressman. After 20 years, Rep. Joel Hefley is retiring from office, and six Republicans have been battling it out for the primary in the 5th Congressional District. The winner will face off against Democrat Jay Fawcett in November's general election.

Two weeks ago, we endorsed former El Paso County Sheriff John Anderson in the primary, noting that he alone has focused on issues that most voters consider far more important than pushing a radical social agenda, including border security, protecting individual liberties and balancing the budget. Amid an out-of-control partisan split in Washington, D.C., and the growing crisis in the Middle East, we believe Anderson, who is not beholden to the religious right or other special interest groups, will provide reasoned leadership. The full endorsement can be read online at csindy.com/csindy/2006-07-20/endorsements.html.

While the CD5 race has grabbed much of the media spotlight this summer, two other important local Republican primaries are in play. This year, state Reps. Richard Decker and Dave Schultheis are term-limited from office, and Republican candidates are squaring off in each district to replace them. Decker's District 19 includes the city of Fountain, the Security-Widefield area and much of eastern El Paso County. Schultheis' District 14 includes much of northwestern Colorado Springs. We applaud all four candidates who are running for those seats for their candor and their willingness to engage in public debates. While we cannot extend full endorsements to the following candidates because of their ultra-conservative views on social issues, we believe they are, by far, the more worthy of your vote.

Recommendation

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Colin Mullaney

House District 14

Colin Mullaney has lived in the neighborhood he wants to represent since 1998, in stark contrast to his opponent. Kent Lambert, who lost a legislative seat in another part of the city two years ago, specifically moved into the district to run as Rep. Dave Schultheis' hand-selected candidate. As Mullaney notes: "I didn't move here just to get a House seat so I can go to Denver; I want to represent the constituents of the district."

Currently the principal of Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy and an Army Reservist (following a full-time Army career), Mullaney has the pro-business sensibilities to recognize that there are legitimate functions of government; his focus is on improving the quality of life and education in Colorado. He has also raised a critical issue that has largely been ignored this campaign season: the need for state and local law enforcement agencies to plan and coordinate response to major emergencies. Of the two candidates, Mullaney is also much more likely to consider divergent views at the Capitol and to reach for common ground.

Recommendation

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Marsha Looper

House District 19

Marsha Looper exploded onto the political stage two years ago, when she became a key organizer of the opposition to the Super Slab toll road, and the state government's consideration of giving private developers the right to seize private property. But in her bid for the Legislature, Looper, a rancher and real estate agent, is far from a one-issue candidate. She is committed to seeking solutions to critical water issues facing the rural district, including protecting the quality of the groundwater. She is passionate about pursuing renewable resources, including wind-generated and solar power.

Particularly inspiring is her enthusiasm. "The Lord's given me brains, and a backbone," she says. "Quite candidly, I'm not afraid to take a stand." By contrast, Looper's opponent, Jim Brewer, has not articulated issues that he feels passionately about during this campaign.

The who, when, where and how

Registered Republicans are eligible to vote in Tuesday's primary, as are currently unaffiliated voters who are willing to declare themselves Republican even for the day when they arrive at the polls. There are no Democratic primaries in El Paso County this year. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This year, the clerk and recorder is requiring voters to show valid identification. For information on where your polling place is, and a list of acceptable forms of ID, call 575-VOTE (8683), or check out the Web site at car.elpasoco.com/Election/.

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