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Beedy convert drops bid; Rodriguez vanishes 

In a bizarre change of heart, a Republican candidate who recently lambasted County Commissioner Betty Beedy for her divisiveness and irresponsible comments has pulled out of the race and thrown her support behind her one-time nemesis.

Three weeks ago, Kit Roupe, who challenged Beedy in 1996 and again this year, accused the commissioner of grandstanding, dictating morality, forgetting about her mainstream constituents and not understanding the government process. Now she vows to help Beedy in her reelection bid.

Meanwhile, Democrats have apparently lost their lone candidate running in the District 2 race to represent eastern Colorado Springs and El Paso County. Catherine Rodriguez, who two years ago launched an unsuccessful recall against Beedy, has virtually disappeared and her own campaign manager says he has not talked to her for a month.

Both of Rodriguez's telephone numbers have been disconnected and campaign manager, Dave Dempsey, said that he believes she has gone to Texas to assist her ailing father-in-law. Dempsey and other Democratic Party officials suggested Rodriguez has financial and other problems related to a group home that she operates, but offered no specifics.

"To be honest I can't give you an accurate take," Dempsey said. "Until she tells me otherwise, she's in the race."

Roupe's conversion and Rodriguez's vanishing act come just days before this Saturday's county assemblies, where Republicans and Democrats select their party candidates for the August primary ballot.

Roupe said she decided to end her quest after she realized she doesn't have enough support to get on the ballot. A poll she conducted indicated the majority of Republicans in the district are supporting Beedy, she said.

"This isn't about personal ambitions, this is about what the citizens of the district want," Roupe said. "If I'm not going to win then I will back the winner."

In the Indy interview in early April, Roupe detailed her dissatisfaction with Beedy, criticizing Beedy for alienating people over her comments that Martin Luther King Jr. was a philanderer and her refusal to work with her colleagues. Roupe, a one-time single mother, also said she had been personally offended by Beedy's position that single mothers who date are sluts.

This week, Roupe suggested that another Republican candidate, Tom Huffman -- not Beedy -- is the one who has been making foolish comments during candidate debates. "Beedy has said some things that were not well-thought out, but her underlying messages were best for the community. She has the heart of the constituency."

Huffman, one of three Republicans left challenging Beedy for the party nomination, said he was baffled by Roupe's move.

"It's an ugly business, and I come from a background of old-time military where keeping your word is a way of life," said Huffman, a dentist. "I'm a nice boy so sometimes I don't know even why I'm involved in this stuff."

Huffman, who describes himself as a conservative who is not as "flamboyant" as Beedy, said his own informal poll shows he has the support needed to make the primary ballot. Republicans Jimmie Brewer, a horse breeder, and Bob Cordova, a rancher, are also in the race.

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