Incumbent May Emerge as Sole Candidate for Republican Primary Ballot
Incumbent Teller County Commissioner Bob Campbell delivered an initial knock-out punch in the first official contest in the much-awaited bout for the District 2 Commission seat.
By a convincing vote of 53-17, Campbell clearly won the support of party leaders during Saturday’s Republican County Assembly in Divide over challenger Tommy Allen. This was the first 2022 showdown in the races for county elected seats from GOP party leaders/members.
In fact, by garnering this strong percentage of the delegate vote, Allen, a military veteran who has been heavily supported by Sheriff Jason Mikesell, was denied a spot on the primary ballot through the assembly process.
Allen, though, did gain enough votes to continue his campaign by petitioning his way onto the ballot. “This is kind of what I expected,” said Allen, who said he knew he faced an uphill battle in challenging an incumbent at the assembly stage, shortly after the tally.
He fell short by a mere five votes, as a party candidate needs 30 percent of the delegate vote to qualify for a spot on the primary ballot in late June. If they get between 10 and 30 percent, they can still petition as a party candidate.
Although falling short by a handful of tallies, Allen didn’t appear disappointed.
“I look at this as an opportunity,” said Allen, who told Republican leaders immediately following the vote tally that he plans to pursue the petition pathway.
But in order to make the grade, the District 2 contender faces a tight deadline, according to County Clerk and Recorder Krystal Brown.
Allen was the first candidate to announce his candidacy for the District Two County Commission seat, the only elected county position being challenged.
Campbell expressed gratitude with the support he received from party leaders, surpassing the 75 percent level. He said the final count was pretty much on par with what he expected, based on efforts to garner delegate support during caucuses in early March.
Campbell also had some big-hitters on his side. He received nomination speeches by both fellow commissioners Dan Williams and Erik Stone. They cited Campbell as an outstanding commissioner, and dedicated to the fiscal ideals of the party and someone who has a solid achievement record. Specifically, they mentioned Campbell’s accomplishments in making Teller debt-free.
Plus, Williams stressed the importance of not breaking up their current leadership team, especially as the county faces challenging times with the current Ukraine conflict and growing financial and inflation concerns. “We want to leave the team intact,” said Williams, who made comparisons to a battlefield in war.
“It is about the people we serve,” responded Campbell, in accepting the nomination. “This is not about me.” The GOP assembly winner stated that he enjoys his work as commissioner.
Following the vote, Campbell said he plans to continue concentrating on his main campaign themes, such as protecting individual rights, endorsing fiscal responsibility and assuring public safety. He said he isn’t concerned about the sheriff’s endorsement of his opponent, saying he has a good record in emphasizing the importance of public safety and spending what the county can on law enforcement resources.
If Campbell wins the GOP primary this summer and the general election in November against Democrat challenger Dennis Luttrell, he will become the longest-serving Teller commissioner and elected leader in the last 25-plus years. He served earlier as commissioner for eight years, and then became the treasurer for another eight years, prior to getting elected as commissioner again in 2018.
In all of his campaigns as commissioner, Campbell has never faced any stern challenges.
Allen Gains the Support of Teller Sheriff
Allen, though, received a strong nomination speech by Mikesell, who cited Allen’s lengthy military career and combat experience in some dangerous spots, such as Afghanistan and Somalia. Plus, Mikesell touted Allen’s support of the sheriff’s office. “Tommy Allen is a good man,” stressed the sheriff, who made it clear that Allen is not a politician. “He supports our deputies.”
The sheriff lauded Allen for his supportive role in helping their agency and the county overall during the COVID crisis. He also believes Allen would be a key asset in protecting the rights of Teller citizens and in helping the county as it deals with growing crime and security problems.
Mikesell actually was a nomination speaker for a number of candidates at the assembly, besides Allen.
Other uncontested candidates for county seats include Mikesell for sheriff, Stephanie Kees for clerk and recorder, Carol Kittelson for assessor, Mark Czelusta for treasurer and public trustee and Steve Tomsky for coroner.
District Attorney Dan May gave a nomination speech in favor of Mikesell, and even quipped about an April Fools headline and article done by TMJ News, suggesting that Mikesell should become the next Colorado governor. He maintained that this is a great idea, and cited the sheriff’s ongoing battles with state legislators, the governor, the ACLU and other groups in an effort to protect the constitutional rights of local citizens
The GOP Assembly wasn’t shy of speeches with many candidates for state and national offices taking to the podium. One of the more passionate talks came from Carl Andersen, who is making a bid for Colorado’s Congressional District 7 seat, which now includes Teller County.