We've written extensively about the myriad of problems facing the Jefferson County Republican Party — and how those troubles may impact statewide races such as U.S. Senate and Governor — but we've got to admit that even we were surprised to see this latest tale of ineptitude from Jeffco Republicans. As John Aguilar of the Denver Post reports, the Republican candidate for County Assessor owes nearly $100,000 in state and federal taxes:
One of the candidates seeking to oversee Jefferson County's property tax system as its next assessor owes thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes at both the federal and state level, according to county records.
Documents on file with the Jefferson County Clerk's Office show Ronald Sandstrom, the Republican candidate for assessor, facing Internal Revenue Service liens of more than $67,000 and unsatisfied judgments from the Colorado Department of Revenue of nearly $22,000.
It's not clear whether Sandstrom has made any progress in settling his tax bill with the IRS, which accrued from 2007 to 2011, but a records technician with the Jefferson County Combined Courts said on Tuesday that Sandstrom's debts with the state — dating to 2010, 2011 and 2013 — are still listed as "unsatisfied."
Sandstrom, who in 1989 opened a consultancy that specializes in property tax disputes, did not return a call or an e-mail request for comment Tuesday.
The delinquency issue was enough to prompt Jefferson County Republican Party Chair E.V. Leyendecker to ask Sandstrom to step aside from the race. Sandstrom has so far refused to do so, Leyendecker said.
"It's disappointing to me," Leyendecker said. "The Republican Party stands for personal responsibility and fiscal responsibility, and this is causing me some problems." [Pols emphasis]
The circus that is the Jefferson County Republican Party continues to rumble on, setting altogether new standards for ridiculousness. To wit…
Last Spring, Jeffco Republicans nominated one Nate Marshall as their candidate in HD-23 before somebody did a simple Google search and found that Marshall had a complicated arrest record and ties to white supremacist groups (whoops!). Marshall was asked to resign his candidacy by then-Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Bill Tucker, who didn't bother to call a vacancy committee for weeks thereafter — almost costing Republicans their place on the HD-23 ballot.
The HD-23 vacancy committee closed out a contentious Spring for Jeffco Republicans, which included open political warfare between the County Party and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO). Party Chair Tucker ended up quietly resigning soon thereafter, but it didn't take long for his replacement — E.V. Leyendecker — to run into a new set of problems with a seriously-flawed Republican candidate. Ron Sandstrom, the Republican candidate for Jefferson County Assessor (a seat that has been held by Republicans since the dawn of man), has refused Leyendecker's call to drop out of the race, but Republicans are again left to wonder how this could have happened in the first place.
Sandstrom owes about $67,000 in taxes to the federal government, and another $22,000 to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Not only that, but Sandstrom owns and manages a company that specializes in property tax disputes! County Assessor isn't exactly a high-profile position, but you would be hard-pressed to find a candidate for this office whose background was less suited to the job. Did any Republicans bother to do even a cursory background check of Sandstrom? Running Sandstrom for County Assessor is a bit like promoting a candidate for Sheriff who has an extensive criminal record. How do you screw this up?
Given the nature of Jefferson County government races, Sandstrom may well end up beating Democrat Andrew Hassinger regardless of his background. But this is a completely avoidable and unforced error that again damages the image of the entire Jefferson County Republican Party — which is damn scary for candidates relying on Jeffco voters to get elected this fall.