Candidates lining up for local races

       With the political parties' county assemblies in the rearview mirror and their primaries a few months away, the candidate picture for this year's El Paso County and Colorado election races is starting to come into focus.
       The following capsulizes the current candidate status for political office in districts that encompass all or parts of the Westside:
  • District 18 state representative - Democrat incumbent Michael Merrifield (formerly of Manitou Springs, now living just east of downtown) has been chosen by his party to run for the fourth term that he is allowed under the state's term-limitation law. As of this week, the Republicans had no candidate registered with the Secretary of State's Office, but Kate Szot of the Hillside neighborhood, who received 30 percent of the delegate support at the Republican county assembly, has said she is in the race. Colorado Springs City Council member Tom Gallagher, who had gotten 70 percent at the assembly (without having officially entered his name), had been mulling the idea, but the Westside resident announced this week he's not going to run. “I really hadn't planned on doing it,” he said, noting that City Council (to which he was reelected for a second four-year term last year) is “what I ran for.”
  • District 21 state representative - There will be an encore of the 2006 campaign, with Democrat Anna Lord of the Ute Pass area again challenging Republican Robert Gardner of the Cheyenne area. The difference this time is that he is the incumbent, having defeated her by an 18 percent margin in '06. No primaries will be needed in either party.
  • District 12 state senator - Cheyenne-area resident Keith King, the former House District 21 representative, and Charles Fowler of Security are primed to face off in the Republican primary. The Democrats have just one candidate - Sanford “Pete” Lee, another Cheyenner. Republican incumbent Andy McElhany cannot run again because of term limitations.
  • District 3 county commissioner - The only candidate who has registered with the state (as of this week) is Westsider and incumbent Republican Sallie Clark. According to Democratic Party headquarters, her opponent will be Pam Berry.

    Westside Pioneer article