As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dan West reports, something unexpected happened in yesterday’s City Council elections in the conservative stronghold of Grand Junction:
Current Council Member Rick Taggart was re-elected, switching districts from At Large to District A. Dennis Simpson (District D), Abe Herman (District E) and Randall Rietz (At Large) also won their races.
Results are still unofficial in the race. Taggart was leading opponent Mark McCallister by more than 2,500 votes after the initial results were announced. Herman was ahead by nearly 3,000 votes over candidate Jody Green and Rietz led current City Council Member Kraig Andrews by more than 2,600 votes…
“I feel really good for the people that won tonight,” Taggart said. “Not so much for me, I’m thrilled for myself, but I’m really happy about council as a whole. I think it’s going to be a very good council and it’s going to help this city continue to move forward.”
As the Colorado Times Recorders confirms, these results amount to a sweeping defeat of Republican-endorsed candidates in one of the state’s most conservative incorporated cities:
Kristi Burton Brown, the newly elected chair of the Colorado GOP, who’s known in the state for being a huge proponent of anti-abortion and opponent of LGBTQ+ rights, encouraged voters to back all Republican candidates in the Grand Junction council election, among others, in a video from last Thursday.
Then, yesterday morning, she sent out an email endorsing four candidates, saying “The Republicans running for City Council are Mark McCallister (District A), Jody Green (District E), Greg Haitz (District D), and Kraig Andrews (At-Large).”
That’s a clean sweep, and Mesa County Republicans including state Rep. Matt Soper are losing their minds:
State Rep. @SoperMatthew is so triggered that everybody he endorsed lost bigly that he is spewing election conspiracies about his own MAGA loving, Dominion hating @mesacountyclerk Tina Peters! #copolitics pic.twitter.com/on7ecuJ6JH
— Rural Colorado United (@RuralCOUnited) April 7, 2021
It’s simple–Dominion and Mesa County’s nutty Republican clerk stole the election for Democrats!
Unlike Rep. Soper we’re just kidding, but the results of yesterday’s municipal elections in Grand Junction are a very big deal whether Republicans accept them or not–and now we’re left to debate what it means for the future in this anchor city of a conservative stronghold Republicans in Colorado cannot afford to see eroded away. Did Lauren Boebert’s high-controversy low-productivity kickoff in Congress turn off Grand Junction’s swing voters? Was it a refusal to jettison Mark McCallister, whose racist social media feed was making fellow Republicans blush years before Boebert came on the scene?
Republicans west of the Divide are suddenly apprehensive. It looks like they should be.
It should be noted that two of the winning candidates were registered Republicans (Simpson and Taggart), one is unaffiliated (Herman), and Reitz is the only registered DEM. They did run as a team, vowing to work as a team if elected. Another bit of info that is noteworthy is the Reitz campaign was headed by a DU freshman, and remarkable young woman–Lili Flannigan. I'm sure she is headed for greatness, in addition to her college workload and campaign duties, she worked to get the bill about suicide survivors through the Colorado Lege.
Voters also threw out a ban against pot shops in Grand Junction. I'd like to say it was a sweep for progressives, but I think it might be more accurate to say that it was a sweep for common sense. All of the people running "with" Trump were defeated.
I agree the appeal to common sense was probably a big part of the win as well as the fact that the four winners participated in the forums promoted by local activists. The losing four wouldn't even acknowledge the existence of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition (ORC, what a great acronym) or the Western Colorado Alliance, a group which could in the future give Club 20 a good run on concerns for this half of the state.
It would be nice if Western Colorado Alliance could step up and beat Club 20 but it’s had 40 years to do so and hasn’t accomplished as much as Club 20. Even Club 20 is shrinking. We need a solid group so efforts are successful and move forward.
Do you think the WCA is too wonky to appeal to a larger population here? They cover all the issues but don't seem to resonate.
It is almost impossible to overstate the animosity held for the WCA by the local GOP. There is a long history. I was there the day Diane Schwenke hand delivered a letter to WCAs' predecessor, the Western Colorado Congress, terminating the WCCs' membership in the Chamber for " philisophical differences".
I left that organization (WCC) years ago over administrative differences (well documented) with the Board of Directors. I am no judge of their current status or efficacy as an organization, but if history is any predictor here, they will not be well met by the city government, writ large.
There may still be hard feelings aplenty.
Agreed, Duke. WCA hasn't learned much from the problems of its predecessor, which go back much further than Schwenke's stunt. Their money comes from way outside the Western Slope. Their positions can be in line at times with the general population (water, for example) yet they insist on allegiance to full progressive doctrine. Like so many who practice politics poorly, too often WCA overestimate support, since “everybody I know'' agrees.
As for the city election, I couldn't be more delighted with the results. The city itself contains what few precincts have more Democrats than Republicans and more of the Republicans are of the rational variety, not the trumplican crazies in the county at large.
Club 20 is trying to re-establish itself with farmers and ranchers and tourism people. I doubt the “leadership'' will ever admit that selling their souls to big oil was a mistake, but as the oil boys dwindle, Club 20 has to go back to its roots to survive.
I'm unfamiliar with the politicians out there so the Pols article was a bit confusing. Do I understand correctly from your comment that only one Democrat was elected and the rest were republicans, but not trump republicans?
That's about it. Voting down the real trumplican crazies counts as a liberal victory in Grand Junction.
It has been historically the case that the surest way to guarantee that you will not be elected to ANY office in this part of the state is to run as a Democrat.
This is an immutable truth.
How can an ordinary citizen get in on the recall and recount
Ordinary people don't do that…just the greedy ones.😀
I was going to say that ordinary people are usually always welcome participants, . . .
. . . as victims.
I don’t see the word mentioned, but in such an off-year, off-cycle election, I would expect turnout to be the key factor. Trump was good at turning out the storm troopers. But will the pro-death, anti-democracy vote turn out for others?
I find it comical that Soper is complaining of voter fraud when the Clerk is Republican. Was Boebert’s win not real? Janet Rowland and Cody Davis?
One hopeful takeaway from the election is that decent, honest Republicans can beat stupid or racist Republicans in a fair election. Anyone who doesn’t believe that Taggart and Simpson are conservative Republicans doesn’t know them. They are. But they handily beat their opponents.
I think people are getting tired of the relentless, high-pitched, squalling from the Trumpers. They want us all to accept that we aren't the boss of them.
Yes…it is that juvenile.