BREAKING: Libby Szabo Selected as Jefferson County Commissioner, Creating Vacancy in HD-27

UPDATE: The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports:

Szabo will take the seat of Republican Faye Griffin, a serial job jumper who resigned from the board after being elected county clerk in November.

Another GOP vacancy committee, for House District 27, will meet and appoint someone to take over Szabo’s seat. And the House GOP caucus will meet to elected someone to Szabo’s leadership post; she is the assistant minority leader.

Szabo said she did not know when she would be sworn in as a commissioner.

The liberal blog ColoradoPols has called into question the vacancy committee process, including the fact that it refused to release the names of other contenders for the post. Szabo, who has pushed for transparency, said she was not involved in how that committee operated.

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Libby Szabo

Libby Szabo

Republican State Rep. Libby Szabo, the Assistant Minority Leader in the GOP caucus who was just re-elected in November, has been selected by a Jefferson County Republican Party vacancy committee to become the new County Commissioner in District 1. A formal announcement is expected to come as early as this afternoon.

If you were wondering, Szabo never bothered to say anything publicly about seeking a new job one month after being re-elected to the State Legislature; nor did Szabo say anything on Dec. 15th, when she was named the top Republican on the influential House Business Affairs and Labor Committee. Szabo was one of 9 applicants to submit their names for the vacancy created by the early departure of Commissioner Faye Griffin, a serial office jumper who was elected Jeffco Clerk and Recorder (again) last November.

The 75-year-old Griffin has become notorious for failing to finish her elected term in office in order to prolong her time on the taxpayer's dole. Even the editorial board of the Denver Post ("Enough is Enough, Faye Griffin") was incensed at Griffin's apparent contempt for actually finishing her job in the office she was elected to serve. As the Denver Post wrote in October:

We asked Griffin why she would leave the commission two years early, and she was candid in saying it was due to term limits. Griffin is in the middle of her second term, and if she stayed in the position, she couldn't run for the commission again — and there would be no other palatable options for her, in her mind.

"In two years, there's no county office that is open," Griffin said. So, she is seeking the office she held for eight years, starting in 1998. [Pols emphasis]

Political blog JeffcoPols pointed out Griffin's move and speculated that it could be part of a larger shuffle of Republican politicians in Jefferson County intended to avoid open-seat elections. Even if it is wrong about the specific moves, the blog makes a valid point about how Griffin's action would cede power to the GOP vacancy committee in Jefferson County.

Faye Griffin

Who needs elections when you have a Faye Griffin?

Szabo's appointment will trigger yet another Republican vacancy decision — yet again leaving the voters out of the process. By state statute, Jeffco Republicans have 10 days to pick a replacement for House District 27 once Szabo officially resigns her legislative seat, and if history is any indication, they'll keep the process a secret for as long as they can get away with it. Take a look at what Ramsey Scott wrote in the Canyon Courier on Tuesday:

Natalie Menten, who works for the Jeffco GOP, said the party wasn’t releasing the names of the nine applicants. The seven-member vacancy committee was working to narrow the list to a few finalists. [Pols emphasis]

Menten said the party had received more than 50 comments from the public on the process, mostly recommending someone for the vacancy. 

The Republican vacancy committee refused to release the names of applicants to one of the most powerful elected positions in Jefferson County. Why is that okay? You are required to put your name on the ballot if you want to run for office in every other scenario involving elected officials, but once a vacancy committee convenes, it all becomes a big secret?

This nonsense has been going on for years in Jefferson County, with elected officials leaving office early as a way around term limits and to allow a Republican Party vacancy committee to choose the successor. We have no quarrel with the process of filling a vacant seat in general, but something needs to change when it is being so blatantly abused as it is in Jefferson County. A committee of just 7 members selected Szabo to an office that normally requires winning the votes of the entire county; there are more than 256,000 people in Jeffco who voted in November but will now have no input into who will serve as one of three County Commissioners — or who will decide their representative in one of a handful of House Districts in Jeffco.

We've been following this story closely for a very long time; remember, dear readers, that you heard it here first.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. FrankUnderwood says:

    Didn't know she was ready for county office just yet.  I thought her career goal was to worm her way up the House GOP leadership to becoming minority leader before doing something else.

  2. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Maybe Rs realize this is the only way they're going to keep their numbers up for more than 15 political minutes?

  3. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    Good God, WHY??

  4. JeffcoDemoJeffcoDemo says:

    Rosier has two more years before he foolishly runs against Perlmutter and gets b-slapped for the hubris.  How again can this county reliably vote for Ds state and federal but vote in these idiots for county office year in and year out?

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Rossier is the next sacrificial lamb to take on Perlmutter?  I would rather see a real conservative like Laura Waters Woods or maybe Justin Everrett or Nathan Marshall.

      • JeffcoDemoJeffcoDemo says:

        Just speculation, too bad for Don there aren't any state offices for him to run for  in 16 and we know he couldn't possibly serve out his term.

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        Nate Marshall? I guess he'd be a good fit. He's nuttier than squirrel poo. Wasn't he the number 1 House Crazy until Chappy signed on? 

        • FrankUnderwood says:

          Marshall never actually made it into the House.  After his rather problematic history came to light (i.e., the white supremacy stuff), he was shown the door by the Jeffco GOP and was quietly replaced by a non-entity who did have a problematic history. 

          • FrankUnderwood says:

            P.S.  I have to wonder, though:  if Nate Marshall had been the GOP candidate in H.D. 15, would he have won (white supremacy history and all)?  In other words, having the "R" next to your name in that district gets you by even if you're loopy (see Bruce, Doug as well as Chaps), but would they also accept a neo-nazi running as their candidate?  Makes you wonder where the bar is set for the folks in that district.

    • OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

      They win because these low-profile seats conveniently keep coming up in non-Presidential years. 

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Nate Marshall finally gets his break?

  6. I guess that Dr. Chaps set the crazy crown bar too high for even Libby to keep her spotlight. 

  7. Craig says:

    So, as I said several times before, your rank speculation was uninformed and nothing but a guess and a bad one at that.  You obviously have no idea what goes on in the Republican Party in Jeffco and therefore, your should change this site's name to "Jeffco Democratic Pols," becasue that is the only thing you know anything about.

    Here's the scoop.  For the last 22 years the far right wing of the Republican Party has been attempting and mostly succeeding at purging the party of anyone who had the least bit of moderation.  They want brainless pretty boys and girls who will take orders.

    The Party has been mostly successful and state and national levels.  It hasn't been so successful at the county.  Thus, three remaining rational Republicans at the courthouse (Griffin, Kaufman and Everson).  Everson was easy for the right wingers, he was term limited and nuts were successful in putting one of their own in his spot, even though he is a tax evader.

    The real problem for the nuts is that the policy makers in the county weren't controlled by them.  They couldn't get their dirty work done with the commissioners with Faye sometimes siding with Casey sometimes to avoid the worst stuff.  So, when Faye decided she really wanted to end her career in the Clerk's office and it was open, the nuts didn't challenger her (they actually encouraged her) so they could take control of the County Commission two years early.  Your speculation that Kaufman and Everson would move up was just stupid, it was never going to happen. 

    And yesterday, the proof was in the pudding.  Libby Szabo, a darling of the right wing, got appointed.  If you think what is happening at the school board is bad, I encourage you to watch the county commission now.  The shit that is coming is unbelievable.

    Oh, and I can guarantee that the new State Representative will be a brainless pretty boy or girl from Faith Bible Chapel, probably a man.

    As for rational people in the Courthouse, Kaufman is gone in four years and Faye, well, they'll hope she makes mistakes and challenge her in the primary.  If not, they'll do what they can to mess with her and bide their time.  After all, they've been at this for 22 years, what's eight more?

  8. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Becky Mizel is promoting HD 47 Rep. Clarice Navarro to take over Szabo's post as assistant minority leader. 

    Ms. Mizel and the Pueblo GOP are also quite incensed that the Chieftain is actually reporting  the new of her censure for stealing election documents, as opposed to its usual knee-jerk support of all things Republican.

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