BY Rick Langenberg:
Sheriff Mike Ensminger has made it official by formally announcing his candidacy for a second and final term as Teller County’s head law enforcement boss.
Ensminger, a Republican, who was elected to the post in 2010, said he has filed the necessary paperwork to establish a candidate committee and is beginning to seek support for his re-election. The documents announcing his candidacy were electronically submitted to the Secretary of State for Colorado. “There is a lot going on in Colorado and our nation with law enforcement,” he said in a statement. “Our county’s citizens are impacted by these discussions and I would like to remain involved; to be their advocate.” Ensminger has been a strong advocate of the state movement against mandatory gun control legislation, maintaining that the constitutional rights of citizens are adversely impacted by the new Colorado laws.
Ensminger is seeking the Republican nomination, a process that will culminate during the county GOP Assembly next spring and then the Republican primary in the summer.
“We started a lot of new programs internally and externally since 2010 to enhance
citizen and deputy safety in our community, and I would like to see it through,” explained the sheriff. Ensminger said he would like to continue enhancing citizen safety, making additional improvements in the jail and office and growing the relationships with the public.
His announcement isn’t that surprising, as Ensminger has indicated for a number of months he would run for re-election. He won the seat during a heated GOP primary race with Mark Manriquez, an investigator with the Colorado Division of Gaming in the summer of 2010, when the contest was wide open because of term limits. At one time, as many as three sheriff candidates entered the fray.
After winning by a hefty margin in the Republican primary, Ensminger took the reins of the position in September 2010 (about four months prior to when he was supposed to get sworn in) following the resignation of former Sheriff Kevin Dougherty.
Ensminger has lived in the Colorado Springs/Teller County area since June of 1987. After spending several years serving the county of San Diego in a law enforcement capacity, he retired from the San Diego County Sheriff’s office in 1987. In 1988, Ensminger was hired as a professor of Criminal Justice at Pikes Peak Community College where he
retired from teaching in September of 2010. He also graduated from Colorado Christian University in 1995 with a B.S. degree in Organizational Management/Human Recourses.
The sheriff also has non-profit experience with the incorporated Special Olympics, serving with the group from 1989 to the late 90’s. He has served on the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House and participated in events with Care and Share and the Little Chapel of the Hills food pantry.
In addition, Ensminger has been appointed by the governor to serve on the state’s Child Fatality Review Board. He also is a representative for the County Sheriffs of Colorado on the DUI Task force. He is married to Maria and lives in Florissant.
It’s still unclear what candidates Ensminger may face in the forthcoming sheriff’s race. If history repeats itself, the race could get competitive. Of all the county election showdowns, the contest for the sheriff’s seat has attracted the most attention.
Manriquez, the previous challenger, has indicated he is still mulling his options. If he decides to enter the race, Manriquez probably would enter as an unaffiliated candidate, according to sources. The clock is ticking for Republican candidates who may want to challenge Ensminger. The official race gets underway during the party caucuses in late winter, with the GOP assembly often determining who will get the nod for the job.
Besides picking a sheriff, voters in 2014 will decide the fate of a District Two county commissioner seat, along with the positions of assessor, clerk and recorder, treasurer and coroner. These slots are currently held by Dave Paul, Betty Clark-Wine, Krystal Brown, Bob Campbell and Al Born.