Democrat John Morris, running against two-time Republican incumbent Sallie Clark in the District 3 El Paso County commissioner race, said his campaign has been “therapeutic.”
Morris and Clark were among seven candidates invited by the Patty Jewett Neighborhood Association to Wednesday night’s forum. District 5 Rep. Doug Lamborn sent a representative, while two of his opponents — Independent Dave Anderson and Libertarian Jim Pirtle — showed up to address the crowd of 60 and take questions. District 18 state representative Pete Lee, a Democrat, was there along with his challenger, Republican Jennifer George.
County ballot issues 1A and 5A were addressed, as was state Amendment 64.
Morris said he decided to fill the vacant slot after the Democratic caucus in the spring because of voter suppression and term limits issues.
“Those issues really angered me,” Morris said. “I didn’t want to spend the summer being mad. This really is therapeutic.”
Mostly, Morris hammered Clark on the controversial term-limits issue that voters passed in 2010, although many later said they were confused by the wording.
“The wording was intentionally misleading,” Morris said, blaming county commissioners. “It was a moral lapse, an act of arrogance because there has been a 5-0 Republican majority on the commissioners board for 40 years.”
Clark said she’s been accused of running for personal benefit, specifically pension benefits and four years of $87,300 salary.
“You bet I am, for the personal benefit of helping people,” Clark said. “District Attorney Dan May and me are supporting ‘Not One More Child,’ which fights child abuse. Ten children died in our county last year, and we had 10,000 reports of child abuse.”
Clark said she’s been accused of being “too conservative” while Morris labeled himself a “progressive Democrat.” He said trust with voters is the biggest issue of the campaign, while Clark insisted it’s about experience and accomplishments.
Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens