FRIDAY UPDATE #2: The Colorado Sun’s “Unaffiliated” newsletter apparently agrees with us on the timeline of events:
State Rep. Shane Sandridge, R-Colorado Springs, suspended his reelection campaign Thursday after Republican Rose Pugliese, a former Mesa County Commissioner who now lives in Colorado Springs, announced a bid for his seat.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Keep an eye on this. Rose Pugliese seems to be going out of her way to make it look like she only decided to run for HD-14 after incumbent Rep. Shane Sandridge announced that he would not seek re-election (see Facebook post below). From what we hear, it was the other way around — Sandridge decided not to run again after learning that Pugliese was going to challenge him in a Primary Election.
Sandridge did not publicly announce anything on Wednesday, and even if he had, Pugliese filed her campaign affidavit at 1:01 pm on that same day. In other words, Pugliese would like you to believe that she officially filed to run for HD-14 literally within hours of hearing that Sandridge would not seek re-election.
Did Sandridge tell her personally that he wasn’t going to run again? Otherwise…Pugliese effectively filed paperwork for the State House of Representatives based on a rumor that Sandridge wasn’t running again. That would be odd, even by her standards.
UPDATE: We hear that Sandridge has apparently decided NOT to seek re-election in 2022, so Pugliese probably walks into this seat. Apparently, this is the reward Sandridge gets for trying to speak the truth.
[Originally published at 10:04 am on March 17, 2022]
Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese appears to have finally found something to run for in 2022, but there’s a catch: Republican State Rep. Shane Sandridge is already there.
Pugliese has filed her paperwork to run for the State House of Representatives in 2022 in HD-14, a Colorado Springs district that is not winnable for Democrats because of overwhelming voter registration numbers that favor Republicans. This is a particularly odd choice for Pugliese when you consider that Sandridge, a pretty firm right-wing Republican, is seeking his third term in office in 2022. Her timing is also strange in that Republicans started caucusing two weeks ago.
So why is Pugliese running here? Two reasons: 1) She needs something to run for, and 2) House Minority Leader Hugh McKean does not like Sandridge, particularly after their infamous “belly bump” last weekend.
Pugliese has long been a candidate in search of an office, however, so it’s not a complete surprise that she jumped in the HD-14 race at the last minute. She was briefly registered to run for State Senate in SD-7 at one point this cycle before she took a long, long look at running for Secretary of State — a race she ultimately decided against pursuing. As you might recall, Pugliese was also very nearly appointed Mesa County Attorney this time last year, even though she had already moved to Colorado Springs (that would have been one hell of a daily commute).
Pugliese has long been boosted by Republicans as a “rising star” in Colorado, but running against another Republican in a safe House District is probably not what folks had in mind for her career back when The Denver Post was profiling up-and-coming Republicans (side note: That profile included Suzanne
Staiert Taheri, who bombed as a State Senate candidate in 2020, and State Sen. Kevin Priola, who chose not to run for Congress in CO-08 despite the fact that the seat was partially created with him in mind).