EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story misidentified the term-limited Teller County commissioners that Dan Williams, David Rusterholtz and Philip Mella are running to succeed. The story has been corrected to fix the mistakes.
El Paso County commissioner Stan VanderWerf will face a Democratic union leader in his 2020 bid for re-election.
VanderWerf, a Republican, announced Monday that he will run to keep his seat serving District 3, which includes much of Colorado Springs’ West Side and communities along U.S. 24 West.
Ken Schauer is the only candidate who has registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to unseat VanderWerf. There’s plenty of time for others to file, though.
“I’ve been working hard for you, and I love this job,” VanderWerf told supporters at The Antlers hotel in downtown Colorado Springs. “I promise you, I will continue to work hard for you. The best way ... for us to solve problems is for us to do it together, as neighbors.”
The first-term commissioner touted the board’s work over the past 2 ½ years, including providing some funds toward the $350 million widening of Interstate 25 from Monument to Castle Rock.
Like his opponent, Schauer is an Air Force veteran. He said he now works as an electrician and is president of the Colorado Springs Area Labor Council.
“I don’t think we’ve had a voice on that commission that represents the working class for a very long time now,” Schauer said. “I’m definitely a champion of the working class.”
District 4 commissioner Longinos Gonzalez Jr., who represents Fountain and other southeastern areas in the county, also plans to run for re-election in 2020 but has not yet announced his candidacy.
Carrie Geitner, wife of Republican state Rep. Tim Geitner, has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State to succeed Mark Waller as the commissioner for District 2. Waller, who serves part of eastern El Paso County, is running to be 4th Judicial District Attorney in 2020.
Carrie Geitner said she’s a former high school teacher who now runs a T-shirt and embroidery business. She’s worked as a consultant for candidates for local offices and is trying to help start a new charter school in District 49 in Falcon.
“I feel, definitely, a sense of duty to my community,” she said. “With all of the growth that we’re seeing, we just need someone who is prepared to listen to our community and to gather all of those involved and make good decisions concerning the growth going forward.”
Teller County commission candidate David Rusterholtz promised in a Monday news release to run the rural county’s 570 miles of roads during his campaign. The Republican, who’s run seven marathons, hopes to succeed term-limited District 1 commissioner Marc Dettenrieder.
“I’m going to run past every driveway, every home and every business in Teller County,” Rusterholtz said in the news release. “I want the citizens of the county to meet me and ask questions, to express their concerns about what is going on in their county.”
So far, Rusterholtz has one opponent who’s filed for candidacy: Teller County planning official Dan Williams, also a Republican.
“We’re at a critical point, and whoever we put in charge of Teller County over the next couple of years needs to be experienced, understand the role of government and know where we’re headed,” Williams told the Pikes Peak Courier after announcing his bid for the seat last month. “We don’t own our water. The traffic is challenging, and we have different visions and intents.”
Former Woodland Park City Councilman Philip Mella, a Republican, has registered with the Secretary of State’s Office to run for the seat of term-limited District 3 Teller County commissioner Norm Steen.
No other 2020 candidates for commission seats in El Paso or Teller counties have yet registered with the Secretary of State’s Office.