The Villager: KINDLING – Looking at the primary election


By Bob Sweeney

The Primary Election is June 26 and for the first time in history, unaffiliated voters will be able to vote in the primary election without being affiliated with any political party.

This could lead to some stunning upsets and surprises.

If you are a registered Republican or Democrat, you have received only one ballot. If you are registered as an unaffiliated voter, you have now received two ballots and you can only vote one. Whichever party ballot that you use does not register you in that party going forward.

The largest block of voters in Colorado are registered as independents, meaning no party affiliation.

Welcome to the selection of party candidates and your votes will be very important in this year’s final party nominations for the Nov. 4 election.

This new process weakens political parties and opens the door for independent voters to vote in this important candidate selection process.

If you belong to a political party, you are probably better informed on that party’s candidates. But, this year candidates from both political parties must court the unaffiliated voters in the primary election process.

We’ll soon see how this new process works out.

A quick look at the GOP governor candidates:

Republican candidates for governor as they appear on the ballot are Walker Stapleton, Greg Lopez Doug Robinson Victory Mitchell.

Walker Stapleton has been the leading GOP candidates and serves as the state treasurer. He is a fiscal conservative with experience in state government and business residing in Arapahoe County.

Greg Lopez is a former mayor of Parker, past Denver Hispanic Chamber president, and recently received the top-line vote from the Western Conservative Summit.

Doug Robinson is an experienced successful businessman and a strong family man residing in Arapahoe County. This is his first venture into the political world.

Victor Mitchell served as a State Representative and is also a successful businessman living in Douglas County. He has been one of the hardest working candidates.

A straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit also indicated that any of these four candidates could win the Nov. 4 election.

I find all four really outstanding candidates, leading citizens, and that each one has strong backgrounds and would serve the citizens of Colorado well. 

Endorsement: all of them.

Democratic candidates for governors:

I’m not as familiar with these four candidates as the four GOP candidates that I’ve heard speak on numerous occasions. However, I do know two of them and have met with them on occasion.

Mike Johnson appears to be young, aggressive and a leader of his party in the state Legislature. He stressed strong support for education and appears to have a good sense of humor and is likable.

Cary Kennedy has served as state treasurer and is very popular among women and a strong proponent for teachers. She has been in government and politics for many years and seems warm and caring.

Donna Lynne is our Lt. Governor and part of the Hickenlooper administration. She is an experienced business leader coming from a strong business background after running Kaiser Permanente. She has climbed all Colorado 14,000 peaks and has the government experience at the highest level.

Jerod Polis is the possible front-runner and serves in the U.S. Congress. A highly successful business entrepreneur he has funded many educational demands, both with his time and money.

Summary: All of the Republican gubernatorial candidates live South of Denver in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties indicating the dynamic growth of these areas.

I think it is a fair assessment that all of the Republican candidates are “conservatives” and the Democrats can be labeled “progressives.” Probably those labels are best defined by how candidates feel about taxation, spending and budgets.

Looking ahead: The primary elections are really just a preview of the real contest ahead. Voters will be selecting the finalists in this very spirited and competitive election. The real choice is Nov. 4 in the General Election where final office holders are elected.

Thoughts: If Stapleton holds on and wins, he should select Lopez as his running mate. If Polis wins, he should select Lynne as his partner. Those choices would make for an interesting election.

Lastly: I’m voting for Brian Watson for state treasurer, he is a rising star on so many fronts, very civic-minded, and a sharp businessman.

I’m also voting for Rod Bockenfeld for State Representative House District 56. Bockenfeld is a past Arapahoe County Commissioner and will represent this county well in the legislature.

Once the primary elections are over we can look at all the candidates. Winners should be reaching out to losers to build new campaign teams.