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July 29, 2013 02:45 PM UTC

One and Done? Rep. Jared Wright Draws Primary Challenge

  • by: Colorado Pols
Freshman Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita).
Freshman Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita).

As the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby reports:

Freshman Rep. Jared Wright will face a Republican primary challenger during his first re-election bid next year.

Palisade resident J.J. Fletcher told The Daily Sentinel that he intends to unseat the incumbent, in part because he’s still upset with the Fruita Republican.

After Wright won the GOP nomination last year for House District 54, which includes all of Mesa County outside of Grand Junction and the western half of Delta County, he came under fire for losing his job as a Fruita police officer under questionable circumstances and for filing for bankruptcy in 2011.

When those issues came to light, Fletcher was one of numerous Republicans who called for Wright to resign his nomination to allow the HD54 GOP Central Committee to pick a replacement. Fletcher intended to vie for that appointment.

The story of now-Rep. Jared Wright's resignation from the Fruita Police Department under dubious circumstances, combined with a 2011 bankruptcy revealing a rash of questionable purchases for anyone making the kind of salary Mr. Wright did as a junior small-town cop, led to a major controversy as Grand Junction-area Republicans urged him to step aside in time for the party to appoint a replacement candidate. Scandal-weary from Wright's predecessor Rep. Laura Bradford, it did seem for time that Wright's record of "clock milking," dishonesty and financial irresponsibility would make him more toxic than he was worth to his benefactors.

Wright refused to step aside, however, and won the HD-54 election against a token Libertarian opponent. Since then Wright has managed to avoid further headline-producing embarrassment as a freshman legislator, but hasn't exactly distinguished himself either. It's been unknown to us since then whether or not an attempt would be made at (metaphorically) euthanizing Wright for the good of the party in general next year.

Well, here's somebody ready to try.


25 thoughts on “One and Done? Rep. Jared Wright Draws Primary Challenge

    1. Our good friend Konola has inside information that the Mesa Co. Republican Party is busy rearranging chairs at the dinner table, with Sen. Steve King being awarded the Mesa Co. sheriffs' job while Scooty McPlagarist replaces Steve Acqufresca. I think they have a replacement in mind for Jared (after they throw him in the ditch), but I don't know who that might be.

      Unfortunately, Konola is on vacation in a place with limited internet access (I think) but there is some info in the diary about the "wild and wooly weekend" she posted a few days ago.

      1. Ray Scott gets to be Senator I hear, when Steve moves over to Stan's job, but I think they're looking for something for Barbara, since she will probably have to do a Josh Penry and sacrifice herself to McPlagarist's ambitions. 

  1. So, guys and gals, what are the local Dem leaders doing about all this R turmoil? Fielding candidates? Oh, horrors, no, The Ancient Election Spirits of Lands End have spoken: Smelly gas horsies will bob their heads and consume all the rabbit brush in the valley and Democrats will lose, as long as the sun sets beyone the sacred Utah border.

    Don't want folks around there remembering there actually are such things as Democrats. And choice. And sane policy arguments that half the population is hungry for. As I remember it, when Wright was drummed out and Bradford imploded and Wright announced his candidacy for state rep, the general feeling was, Oh, god, anybody but.  But (But!) there wasn't an anybody Democrat in the mix.

    It's really fun reading about the GOP marbles games with jackrabbit droppings in GJ/Mesa/Delta. Honestly, it's a  hoot. Makes me jealous. I love a good game of musical chairs with milk stools, too. I came from over there. Now I'm a Dem in love with the whole state. Can anyone shed a little light on what the Democratic Party stands for is doing in that neck of the woods? It seems like the  party should spend less time giggling at the Republicans' wet pants and more on opening a bipartisan laundromat.

    Which reminds me, gotta pick my monthly Lotto ticket. You don't play, you don't win.

    Love ya. angel


      1. Note: I may have the young candidates name wrong. I have only spoken with him once shortly before I left town…and senility is beginning to what were we talking about?indecision

    1. Larry, it's tough enough being an admitted Democrat in Grand Junction, let alone the outlying areas; Obama bumber stickers will get you flipped off in traffic, campaign signs are trashed, and left-leaning employees have been let go from jobs and told "it was because of Obamacare".   Running a Democratic candidate against Jared Wright wouldn't have mattered.          

      1. Much of Delta County is represented by Sen. Schwartz and Rep. Hamner, much to many locals' consternation I am sure.  Both are pretty popular in the North Fork though. 


  2. Curmudgeon is correct. People are getting their hours reduced and many are being laid off because the owners figure they can blame Obamacare. Otherwise respectable citizens decline to give charitable donations and blame the same thing. A car with a Democratic bumper sticker gets a brick through the windshield.

    A two-party system will return to Mesa County if the day ever comes that the rational Republicans (and there are lots of them, currently keeping very low profiles lest they get the same treatment Democrats do) can regain some of the party controls from the crazies. Until then, Mesa County will continue to be deep red. The only fun is watching the wingnuts do battle with the truly crazy. Fletcher vs. Wright is one of those.

    King will be the next sheriff, but that's okay. He'll no longer be an embarassment in Denver and more people can keep an eye on him if he stays local. Scott is a bigger embarassment than King, but there's faint hope Scott's successor might not be a total wacko. Over here, we take what tiny slivver of hope that we can.


    1. King will make a decent Sheriff. He's intelligent, (if overly concerned about his hair), and he doesn't have the same connections to the MCSO Good Ol' Boys network that Hilkey and his predecessors have had. 

      I've stated here before, I know Steve, as an acquaintance. I like the guy, and I voted for him. I'm not crazy about the stances he's chosen. I'm hoping a new office will bring some new perspectives.


      1. Compared to Mesa's other offerings, King shines.  Not sure that says a lot, but its a start.  I had better hopes for the other Steve (Aquafresca), who seemed neutered early on v. Craig 'Don't you know who I am?' Meis and Janet Rowland.  Its a company town, Mesa, and now what had been a more thoughful body within that red red whole (the city council) has been taken over by the Chambermades. 

      2. With all respect, Curmudgeon, King is dumber than a box of rocks. He's part and parcel of the good ol' boy law enforcement network. Indeed, he's a proud product of it.

        I give credit to Hilkey for running out at least some of the worst bullies in the sheriff's office. I think he lost his mind on the gun stuff.


        1. I don't take offense at anyone having a different opinion; but in my experience, the GJPD network is different than the MCSO network.  And Hilkey didn't lose his mind, he lost his nerve. I've always thought Steve made a much better cop than a politician, anyway. He may disappoint me as he did in the House, but at this point, I'm willing to throw the dice.  

          1. We both have to hope, Curmudgeon. King will have no real opposition. The Dems might find a retread of some sort to run, but we know in Mesa County that the R after the name guarantees election. See the original subject of this post: Wright, Jared.


              1. Nope. I was referring to the string of retired deputies who have run as Dems for sheriff on occasion. Nice to hear that the crazies think Hollywood is a RINO, though. It's quite common for rank-and-file law enforcement to wish for other candidates. But they won't help much, if at all, in the campaign or give money. They know if they do, they lose their jobs when the designated R wins.


        2. King is being called a RINO by the extremists at Mesa County Patriots. They think that he is too close to the Feds, and that makes the gun nuts nervous. And a little birdie told me that the local law enforcement is chomping at the bit to find another candidate, even called a former DEM Chairman to see what the DEMS might be able to produce. I don't think it is a foregone conclusion that Steve King will be sheriff–that is if anyone runs against him!

  3. Really appreciate all the patient responses. I was hoping I didn't come across as too harsh, just a bit too ignorant of the extreme difficulties you guys face. Now I remember the running feuds Dad had with the Delta chamber in the 50s. I had forgotten the violent strain running through damn near everything politics on the Western Slope. Scary stuff. Maybe you should consider arming yourselves. devil

    Anyway, onward to victory. Or, at least, an entertaining political scene. And keep us, who are safely far away, posted.

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