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Colorado Springs Councilman Bill Murray considering run for county commission

February 13, 2018 Updated: February 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm
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photo - Bill Murray May 5, 2015
Bill Murray May 5, 2015 

Colorado Springs Councilman Bill Murray, who represents the city at large, might throw his hat in the ring to replace El Paso County commissioner Darryl Glenn.

If he can collect about 750 voter signatures by this summer, Murray said Tuesday, he might run as an unaffiliated candidate. He noted he's "been unaffiliated for a while."

The long-time Democrat said he left the party after Donald Trump was elected president. "It was almost immediately after the election when everybody was arguing, I just said forget it," Murray said. "So I'll become unaffiliated and when you guys calm down and come to your senses, I'll rejoin whatever I think will be the best group. But right now that has not occurred."

The move to a county seat would provide more influence, a much higher salary ($113,490 instead of $6,250 a year) and the ability to help county and city leaders coordinate to mutual success, he said.

"I'm at a 20 percent threshold automatically," Murray said, as he would become one of five members rather than one of nine council members.

Murray was elected to the council in 2015 as one of three at-large members. His term expires next year.

Unless he is elected to Glenn's seat, Murray said, he will remain on the council until his term expires.

Council President Richard Skorman said Murray isn't required to step down because the county race poses no conflict of interest. That would be different if he were running for mayor, for example.

As long as Murray continues to fulfill his duties as a council member, his county race shouldn't cause any problem, Skorman added.

While the council is nonpartisan, political affiliation is allowed on the county Board of Commissioners. Murray would not only be trying to replace a Republican, but also would face a Republican field of candidates. So far, no Democrats have entered the race.

Glenn, who represents the county's District 1, is the board's term-limited president. He announced last July that he's running to unseat U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, the Congressional District 5 Republican incumbent, in this year's election.

Glenn ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2016 against Sen. Michael Bennet.

If Murray does enter the county election, two of his opponents will be Holly Williams, wife of Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who formerly was an El Paso County commissioner, and former New Hampshire state Rep. Ann Howe.

Holly Williams has received $5,765 in contributions and spent $2,275.25 so far, according to the Secretary of State's database. Howe has received $245 and spent $2,218.03.

Two other candidates, Calandra Vargas and Chris Whitney, also are running for Glenn's seat but haven't reported any contributions or expenditures to date.

Running as an unaffiliated candidate in a Republican field isn't Murray's only unorthodox idea for the election.

He said he'll rely entirely on word-of-mouth campaigning and won't produce any signs, bumper stickers or mailers.

"I'm tired of seeing signs littered everywhere," he said, and most mailers are immediately thrown away.

At the county, Murray said, he could speak his mind without the interference of "bureaus or bureaucrats."

Murray already is well-known for speaking his mind.

Board member Peggy Littleton's District 5 seat is also up for grabs in November. So far, four candidates have filed for that race: Camille Bremer, Kari Frederick, Cynthia Pulham and Vickie Tonkins, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large City Council seat in 105. Bremer has reported $3,050 in contributions and $1,042 in expenditures, and Tonkins has reported $4,189 in contributions and $1,297 in expenditures. Neither Frederick or Pulham have filed financial reports.

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