SoperGate! Like House Republicans Need Another Problem?

Rep.-elect Matt Soper (R).

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports on the continuing controversy over GOP Rep-elect Matt Soper in HD-54, as a complaint alleging Soper lied about his residency in the district combined with allegations of intimidation against the tenant of a rented home owned by Soper’s mother threatens to, if not depose then at least seriously humiliate the latest in a long line of GOP Western Slope wunderkinds:

The complaint filed with the Secretary of State is expected to be finalized on Tuesday. It alleges Republican Rep.-elect Matt Soper didn’t live in House District 54 for the required amount of time, when he ran for, and won the House seat. Yet, even if the charges are found to be true, his removal wouldn’t be automatic. Instead, it would require a full vote of the state House of Representatives.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a candidate must have lived in a legislative district for at least one year before the November election to qualify to represent that district.

Palisade resident Dave Edwards filed the complaint and alleges that Soper listed a three-bedroom house in Delta that his mother owns and rented out to a family as his address, but that he lived at another residence, and for part of that time outside of the House district. Soper also used the Delta address on his voter registration form.

“Something this major should not go without someone raising a concern,” Edwards said.

Ordinarily, these kinds of residency questions would not be considered a serious threat to an elected official taking office, as long as there is some kind of plausible claim to residency the candidate can stake. But in Soper’s case, as the Grand Junction Sentinel previously reported, it’s alleged that the tenants of a home owned by Soper’s mother in the district–who insist that Rep.-elect Soper has never lived at the residence during the time they have rented it–were threatened with eviction if they continued to talk to inquiring reporters.

Whether this case rises to the level of action by the overwhelming Democratic House majority is going to depend heavily on the specific circumstances here, in particular the allegations of a tenant in a family-owned property being intimidated in order to maintain a pretense of residency for Soper that did not factually exist. That’s where this could transition from an overlookable mistake to conduct unbecoming of a lawmaker.

As you’ve heard a thousand times in politics, the cover-up is worse than the crime.


14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. itlduso says:

    “The cover up is worse than the crime.”  That’s what was said about Steven  Miller’s appearance on the Sunday news shows sporting a spray-on toupee!

  2. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Threats … the NDA approach for those who cannot predict or prepare for the future.

  3. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Does anyone happen to know if the Colorado House can refuse to seat a member, the way the US House can?

    And if the candidate is found to be ineligible, is there a whole new election process (including assembly, primary and general), a partial election process (a general between individuals selected by party committee and whoever wants to try for a write in), or an appointment by the candidate's party's vacancy committee?  Any chance the candidate is declared ineligible, so the second place candidate is considered the winner?

    • DENependent says:

      They do have that power unless some other procedure has been put in place. The Colorado Constitution mirrors that of the US saying,

      "Each house shall choose its other officers and shall judge the election and qualification of its members."


  4. So, Soper had no opponent IIRC. If his election victory is voided, is a new election rather than a vacancy committee mandated because no-one technically won the election? Or does the Republican vacancy committee still get to replace him – either as a ballot replacement or as an immediate vacancy?

  5. gertie97 says:

     Soper's district is rural Mesa County plus western Delta County, heavily Republican and most of those batshit crazy. No candidate from any other origin besides extremist Republican need apply.

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