The Race For Sheriff


The preliminary battle for the Teller County Sheriff’s race will soon unfold, with a contest between incumbent Mike Ensminger and write-in contender Danny “D.J.” Riley.

This is one of two competitive elections that will be determined during the June 24Republican primary.  

Ensminger was elected as sheriff in 2010 and assumed this position in September of that year, following the resignation of former Teller head law officer Kevin Dougherty.  Prior to his current term as Teller sheriff, Ensminger served as a criminal justice professor for Pikes Peak Community College for more than 20 years, and previously worked with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and a police officer for the city of Imperial Beach, California. He received the top nomination for the sheriff’s seat during the Republican County Assembly last March.  

His opponent, Danny “D.J.” Riley, served with the U.S. Army as a warrant officer, criminal investigator and special agent, and started a private investigator and polygraph business upon retirement from the military. He has worked overseas as a contractor the U.S. State Department, doing a number of stints in Iraq and Afghanistan. Riley tried to petition his way onto the Republican ballot, but fell short by about 200 tallies. He then opted to become a write-in candidate for sheriff. The winner of this primary vote could face a challenge in the Nov. general election by Mark Manriquez of Divide, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate for sheriff.  Manriquez has until July 10 to obtain about 145 signatures from registered voters in Teller County.

The forthcoming primaries are being done through a mail-in ballot system for registered members of the two major parties, with drop-off locations set at the Woodland Park Manor Court county offices and the clerk’s office in Cripple Creek.  A single-vote polling service will be open from June 16 to 24 at the Woodland Park Public Library.