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El Paso turned the tide for Beauprez

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By Greg Romberg

Leading up to the Republican gubernatorial primary June 24, the Colorado Springs Gazette ran an editorial May 19 urging candidates Mike Kopp and Scott Gessler to drop out of the race to ensure that Bob Beauprez would win the nomination over Tom Tancredo. The Gazette argued that Tancredo was not a viable candidate in the general election and that Gov. John Hickenlooper’s re-election would be a sure thing if Tancredo became the Republican nominee.

While neither Kopp nor Gessler took the Gazette’s advice, the editorial may have had its intended effect. For all intents and purposes, Beauprez won the nomination in El Paso County. Beauprez’s margin of victory over Tancredo was 13,447 votes out of 379,799 votes cast statewide in the primary. Beauprez achieved more tnan 70 percent of that margin by defeating Tancredo by 9,725 votes in El Paso County. And, notably, Tancredo, who ran second to Beauprez statewide and won several large counties including Jefferson and Arapahoe, finished last among the four candidates in El Paso County.

While Hickenlooper is still a prohibitive favorite in the race and it’s yet to be seen if Beauprez can or will run a better campaign than he did in losing the 2006 governor’s race to Bill Ritter, Colorado’s 2014 race for governor will be more competitive, if less entertaining, now that Republicans have nominated Beauprez instead of Tancredo.

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Put a fork in efforts to increase the number of Jefferson County commissioners from three to five and to elect them by districts instead of at large.

According to a news release by Jeffco5, the proponents of the effort, approximately 10,000 signatures were gathered, well short of the 17,444 that would have been required to put the proposal on November’s ballot. Given the usual percentage of signatures that are disallowed, it’s likely that less than half of the required number of signatures to place the question before voters was gathered.

While I believe we’d be better served with five commissioners elected by districts than three elected at large, the fact that proponents were able to gather only half the necessary signatures to put the question to voters means the majority of Jefferson County residents may have spoken through their indifference to the question.

In the news release announcing that insufficient signatures had been gathered, proponents criticized the Board of County Commissioners for not forwarding the question to voters. An argument that the commissioners are out of touch with their constituents would have carried more weight had sufficient signatures been gathered to show that Jefferson County voters disagreed with the board on this question.

Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.