The Colorado Republican Party has added three new candidates to the November ballot to replace two who dropped out of their races and a third who hopes to become lieutenant governor.

In House District 18, Mary Elizabeth Fabian has replaced Jillian Likness, who withdrew in July because of unspecified medical issues.

The seat is held by Democratic Rep. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs, who is running for the state Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Mike Merrifield, who chose not to run for re-election.

Fabian is a tax preparer and consultant with an online institute based in Florida that offers continuing education for insurance and real estate professionals.

In House District 25, Steven Szutenbach of Evergreen will vie for the seat held by Republican Rep. Tim Leonard of Evergreen.

Leonard dropped his re-election bid Aug. 1, citing a need to work full-time to keep up with court-ordered family support.

He had previously tried to get his support obligations reduced, stating that he could no longer pay the support because of his full-time work as a legislator.

A Jefferson County judge rejected that argument, telling Leonard his decision to become a full-time lawmaker was “voluntary underemployment.”

Szutenbach has been Republican state Sen. Tim Neville’s legislative aide during Neville’s entire time in the Senate, beginning with the 2012 session and continuing after Neville was elected to a full term in 2014.

Szutenbach also owns a political consulting and marketing business, Optimus Solutions. According to the secretary of state’s TRACER campaign finance system, Neville was Optimus’ only client, in 2014.

Szutenbach’s LinkedIn profile also lists another current company, Federal Contract Associates, which according to the profile provides marketing and business development consulting to federal, state and commercial entities.

Vicki Pyne of Arvada will replace Rep. Lang Sias in the race for the House District 27 seat. Sias was picked to join the Walker Stapleton ticket as lieutenant governor.

Chief legislative reporter

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