Colorado Sen. Jeanne Nicholson is facing competition from challenger Republican Tim Neville for the District 16 seat in the November election.
Neville has strong ties with the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Political Action Committee, which is endorsing him as a candidate. His son, Joe Neville, is a lobbyist for the RMGO PAC that opposed last year’s gun control legislation.
Democrat Nicholson has backing from the Colorado AFL-CIO and stands on her record of support for affordable health care and victims of wildland fires in the state.
Both Neville and Nicholson, a Gilpin County Democrat, are campaigning in new territory this year. Through reapportionment, the geography of District 16 has changed dramatically since Nicholson took office four years ago. Instead of serving constituents in Grand and Summit counties, District 16 now encompasses sections of Jefferson and Gilpin counties, as well as portions of Denver. While the district still reaches into Boulder County, the area it covers is much smaller than it was before redistricting.
Senate District 16 is equally divided among registered Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters.
The contentious redistricting in 2011, on which the Colorado Supreme Court made a final ruling, also removed Neville from District 22 where he had been appointed to fill a vacancy.
Nicholson says the redrawn district “evens the playing field” both for her and her opponent.
A Jefferson County resident with an insurance business, Neville said he decided to seek office this year because he believes many constituents in his district feel they are not being represented. Efforts to help people find jobs and allow them to make their own decisions are priorities, Neville said.
Neville says he supports the rights of property owners, less government regulation and the Second Amendment, which he calls “a bulwark against tyranny.” He is a member of the RMGO, which took a stand against gun-control legislation enacted last year in the wake of shootings in the state.
A former public health nurse, Nicholson said she is committed to representing the interests of people in her district, ensuring that they have access to adequate health care and working to protect them from the danger of wildland fires.
“I think that Colorado has done a good job of enacting the Affordable Care Act,” she remarked.
However, Neville took issue with a senate bill that would have provided an audit of the state health-care exchange, which he said Nicholson did not support.
Nicholson replied that the state health-care program already had undergone favorable audits, and an additional audit would be a waste of money.
Both candidates have received support from elected officials in their respective parties.
In the 2010 election, Nicholson narrowly defeated opponent Tim Leonard by a margin is 658 votes. She previously served on the Board of the Gilpin County Commissioners.