EDITOR’S NOTE: The Gazette has no desire to dictate how anyone votes. We share our preferences and ask readers to consider them as part of their personal due diligence.
The board crafts endorsements after reviewing literature and news coverage. We observe forums and debates and meet personally with as many candidates as possible.
We look for candidates and ballot measures that favor business, good education outcomes, transportation infrastructure, families, health care innovation and anything else that helps the public enjoy prosperity and peace. — Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor, for the editorial board
√ Walker Stapleton (R)
Jared Polis (D)
Colorado voters have a unique opportunity to elect as governor a man with a proven, indisputable record of good results.
During two terms as state treasurer, Walker Stapleton has stood up for hard-working Coloradans. His work benefits middle-class families and the working poor. In defending average Coloradans, Stapleton has protected the state’s economy from those who would pillage it to serve special interests.
Economically, Colorado consistently outperforms most other states. Stapleton’s stewardship of the treasury and defense of private-sector assets gets much of the credit.
Examples of Stapleton’s bold leadership:
• Led the defeat of a deceptive billion-dollar tax increase.
• Called out the Department of Transportation for claiming poverty while spending $150 million on new offices.
• Led the charge against socialized health care that would raise annual taxes $25 billion and impose a 10 percent income tax.
• Served as the lone voice of responsibility on the board of the state’s Public Employees Retirement Association, protecting public pensions and taxpayers.
• Spent eight years holding a variety of state agencies accountable for responsible stewardship of taxpayer assets.
Though Stapleton has learned public service on the job and by leading successful businesses, his academic credentials attest to his keen understanding of public finance. He earned an MBA from Harvard and a graduate degree in business economics from the London School of Economics.
In Stapleton’s Democratic opponent, Jared Polis, we find an affable businessman long known to one member of the board. We could not make peace with his left-wing agenda, which most Colorado Democrats and independents would consider extreme if they scrutinized it.
At the core of the Polis platform is socialized health care in the form of “Medicare-for-all.” It is at least as bad as the socialized medicine proposal voters stomped like a cigarette butt in 2016.
If Polis enacts his health care plan, he could bankrupt the state and average Colorado households. A recent economic study, backed by similar studies, proves we could not provide “Medicare-for-all” on a federal level if we more than doubled corporate and individual income taxes.
Other aspects of the Polis plan include a grab bag of well-intentioned promises that state government can give away shiny things. He would burden taxpayers with expenses they can’t afford in a state already too pricey for young adults and families.
All that, on top of anti-energy sentiments Polis has downplayed during the campaign. Back in 2014, Polis backed a ballot initiative to impose 2,000-foot setbacks on all oil and gas operations. He backed down at the urging of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who saw the setbacks as a jobs killer that would destroy one of our largest economic sectors.
Polis means well but views society from the perspective of a man with hundreds of millions in personal wealth, which he has used lavishly to fund his campaign.
Stapleton will govern to benefit ordinary urban and rural residents of all demographics. The electorate mostly needs good results, and Stapleton delivers them. Elect Walker Stapleton, who has played a significant role in making Colorado the economic and cultural envy of the country.
√ George Brauchler (R)
Phil Weiser (D)
Colorado needs a seasoned, in-the-trenches lawyer to serve as the state’s attorney general. Few could be better prepared than George Brauchler, the district attorney for Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.
In everything from protecting the public from consumer fraud to protecting clean water and air, we rely on an attorney general who knows how to fight and win in court.
Democratic nominee Phil Weiser would begin his first day on the job with almost no experience practicing law. Throughout his career, spent mostly in academia, the former University of Colorado Law School dean litigated six cases.
“All of his cases were argued in the Tenth Circuit or Second Circuit Court of Appeals,” explains a June 26 article in Denver’s Westword magazine titled “Should Voters Care That Phil Weiser Has Only Litigated Six Cases?”
Republican attorney general nominee George Brauchler has quite a different story. In private practice and as district attorney for one of Colorado’s most populated judicial districts, he has tried hundreds of cases.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, who served as Colorado’s attorney general from 2005 through 2014, emphasizes the need for courtroom experience as a requisite for the job. Suthers argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Kansas v. Colorado, persuading the majority to side with Colorado. His courtroom experience persuaded the Supreme Court to save Coloradans nearly $10 million in a longstanding water dispute.
“Litigation is a major part of what the AG office does,” Suthers tells us. “It is critically important for the AG to understand and appreciate how litigation works, so when his or her lawyers are talking about a settlement he or she knows the rules of the game and can make intelligent decisions.”
Though voters should choose Brauchler, we were positively impressed during the nearly 90 minutes Weiser spent with The Gazette’s editorial board. It’s easy to believe he was a good professor. Most notably, we are impressed by his significant work to encourage and support Colorado entrepreneurs and new business owners. If he loses the attorney general’s race, Weiser would be a good appointee to the state’s economic development commission or a more robust position from which he can promote economic development.
The AG’s race consists of two good men, but only one has the background for this job. Voters should choose George Brauchler.
Secretary of state
√ Wayne Williams (R)
Jena Griswold (D)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams puts on clinics for his fellow secretaries of state and others who manage elections throughout the country. Voting to change directions would be voting for less fair and secure elections.
The well-known competence Williams brings to public office has earned him endorsements from left-leaning editorial boards that almost never endorse Republicans.
In May, The Washington Post credited Williams with devising the country’s safest system in which to vote.
Williams is a lawyer with expertise in election law and years of experience in public service. Before statewide voters elected him as secretary of state, Williams served in Colorado Springs as the clerk and recorder of El Paso County, the state’s most populous county at the time.
In everything from voter registration to upholding campaign finance laws to certifying ballot petitions, Williams has given Coloradans confidence in a process that is fair to everyone from every segment of the political spectrum. Voters will be wise to keep Wayne Williams in office.
√ Brian Watson (R)
Dave Young (D)
Colorado’s state treasurer manages a portfolio of investments worth more than $6 billion. It is imperative voters elect someone who knows a lot about money to fill this role.
Brian Watson clawed his way from small-town Western Slope hardship to build a multibillion-dollar real estate brokerage.
Like the current treasurer, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, Watson cares about public employees and the perilous state of their funds in the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA).
“We must keep our promises to current retirees and those paying into the system,” Watson implores.
That’s what we need. A treasurer who understands the real purpose of money: to serve people who work hard to earn it.
Watson reached out to The Gazette’s editorial board and met with us for more than an hour, exuding his passion to serve the people of this state without remuneration.
Watson’s opponent, Democratic nominee Dave Young, lacks adequate credentials to manage Colorado’s treasury. A former junior high school teacher, Young has a connection to finance that is political. He served on the House appropriations and budget committees, which means he has voted on finance-related policies. He has never written payroll checks and held personal responsibility for large sums of money.
Voters cannot take a chance on something so important as the state’s finances. Elect someone with above-average qualifications and passion for the job. Vote for Brian Watson.
5th Congressional District
√ Doug Lamborn (R)
Stephany Rose Spaulding (D)
Doug Lamborn’s sixth term has been remarkably good for the 5th Congressional District.
This year, Lamborn celebrated three major developments for the region’s military and veterans communities. He began crusading for the new Pikes Peak National Veterans Cemetery upon assuming office in 2007. Development began this year.
A ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, Lamborn played a key role in landing a tank brigade at Fort Carson this year. He successfully lobbied the Pentagon to choose Colorado Springs for 800 more troops, bringing Fort Carson’s population to its highest level since the Vietnam War.
Democratic opponent Stephany Rose Spaulding has little chance to win in the heavily Republican district but should have a promising future in the Democratic Party. Articulate, brilliant and impassioned, Spaulding exudes a desire to selflessly serve the public.
Though we like Spaulding personally, board members have insurmountable issues with her policies. She wants nationwide, federal legalization of marijuana; socialized single-payer health care the country cannot afford; reform of the federal tax cuts; and more of the familiar liberal Democratic platform that won’t be popular among most 5th District voters.
Lamborn’s seniority continues paying off for the Pikes Peak region. Maintain this momentum by re-electing him.
State Senate District 2
√ Dennis Hisey (R)
Beth Hart (D)
Dennis Hisey served as chair of the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners for six years, so District 2 voters know who they will get with him.
Hisey pledges to prioritize transportation funding, which he did at the county level and which state politicians have neglected for years. He will also work as a warrior for more school funding and better use of it. District 2 voters should put Hisey in the Senate.
State Senate District 9
√ Paul Lundeen (R)
Gil Armendartz (D)
No one fought harder than state Rep. Paul Lundeen to widen Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock. He worked relentlessly and successfully to help stop a methadone dispensary planned within 20 feet of a park and children’s playground. He emphasizes education, transportation and public safety and is known for reaching across the aisle and getting results. What he did in the House, he will do in the Senate. District 9 voters should elect him.
State Senate District 11
√ Pete Lee (D)
Patrick McIntire (R)
During seven years representing Colorado House District 18, Pete Lee served as an advocate of small businesses and job creation. He will make an equally good senator.
Lee’s support of the business community goes far beyond talk. He fought to allow Colorado entrepreneurs to sell stock on the internet. He sponsored a bill to incentivize training of high-tech employees. He worked to increase the money businesses can raise in stock offerings. Lee sponsored a bill to help veterans transition from military service to civilian careers.
We could use more politicians paving the way for businesses to succeed. District 11 voters should elect Pete Lee.
State House District 14
√ Shane Sandridge (R)
Paul Haddick (D)
A former cop who patrolled inner-city streets of Kansas City, Shane Sandridge wants to improve school security and suicide prevention programs. He wants more legislative emphasis on education and roads and will fight to improve the financial stability of Colorado’s Public Employees’ Retirement Association. Vote for Shane Sandridge.
State House District 15
√ Dave Williams (R)
Brenda Krause (D)
Freshman state Rep. Dave Williams worked so hard to crack down on irresponsible sanctuary city policies he became a regular on Fox News, appearing nationally five times as a Latino speaking about the pitfalls of reckless immigration policies.
Williams led a delegation of Colorado lawmakers to the White House at the invitation of President Donald Trump. He emerged among the first state legislators to respond with legislation after KOAA News 5 and a Gazette editorial brought attention to the problem of squatters taking over Colorado homes when rightful occupants leave for trips or military deployment.
He worked with Democrats to pass a bipartisan bill to address teacher shortages, and it passed with overwhelming support.
Williams has done a good job for District 15, and voters should keep him in office.
House District 16
√ Larry Liston (R)
Andrew Smith (D)
As chair and ranking member of the House Business Committee, Larry Liston has proved himself a pro-business legislator who fights against excessive spending and taxation. He opposes expansion of Medicaid and fights to improve benefits for veterans. He is an unwavering defender of Colorado’s embattled Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
He is the ranking member of the House Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
Liston’s Democratic opponent, Andrew Smith, is an Army veteran and family man with nonaffordable ideas for universal health care and 100 percent “renewable” energy. District 16 voters should keep Liston in office.
House District 17
√ Kit Roupe (R)
Tony Exum Sr. (D)
Kit Roupe came to Colorado Springs in the 1970s, serving as a soldier at Fort Carson. Roupe made southeast Colorado Springs her home and despairs over the area’s condition.
“Southeast Colorado Springs was the place to live,” she says in a letter on her website. “It was growing and thriving. Now, we’ve been ignored and forgotten by our political leaders and our communities have seen increased crime and decay.”
She pledges to legislate the recovery of southeast neighborhoods, partly by leading a revival of the business community.
Roupe won the swing-district seat from Tony Exum in 2014, and he won it back in 2016. Roupe plans to return with a vengeance for getting results. District 17 voters should give her the chance.
State House District 18
√ Marc Snyder (D)
Mary Elizabeth Fabian (R)
Marc Snyder stands among a class of liberal Democrats who know the benevolent force of healthy small businesses.
“We must focus our economic development efforts on assisting our small businesses by reducing regulatory hurdles and make access to capital easier and more affordable,” Snyder says on his website.
We also like his commitment to focusing state funds on education “as well as a re-investment in vocational and apprenticeship training programs that will give young people the skills needed for the jobs of today and in the future.”
He advocates more competition in health care to lower prices.
As former mayor of Manitou Springs, Snyder would bring above-average experience to represent District 18.
State House District 19
√ Tim Geitner (R)
Asia Zanders (D)
We know Tim Geitner because of his work as legislative liaison for the Colorado Springs City Council. He’s a business owner and Army Reserve officer who deployed to Iraq.
Like most of the legislative candidates we favor, Geitner has a commitment to using state money for roads, bridges, water projects and other basic needs. We know Geitner and trust him. Voters should put him in the Legislature.
State House District 20
√ Terri Carver (R)
Kent Edward Jarnig (D)
Carver plays so well with others in the Legislature she introduced 18 bills this year and passed 15 with bipartisan support.
With law degrees from Marquette and George Washington University, she knows better than most how to craft good laws that serve the public’s best interests.
She was a dogged warrior for the widening of I-25 and helped defeat the poorly positioned Monument methadone dispensary. Carver has earned another term serving District 20.
State House District 21
√ Lois Landgraf (R)
Liz Rosenbaum (D)
Lois Landgraf has a proven record on the Fountain City Council and in the state Legislature of getting results for veterans, law enforcement and survivors of rape and domestic violence. She passed legislation to reduce human trafficking and to help people with disabilities. She’s the Legislature’s voice of compassion and a pragmatic advocate of funding education and transportation. Voters should keep Landgraf in office.
CU regent District 5
√ Chance Hill (R)
Tony Wolusky (D)
Chance Hill steadfastly champions intellectual diversity, free speech and academic freedom on all campuses of the University of Colorado. Hill also emphasizes the need to eliminate wasteful bureaucracy, which runs up the size of student debt.
A graduate of Georgetown, Dartmouth and Michigan Law School, Hill has a solid education for a job that governs education. Fifth District voters should elect Chance Hill.
CU regent at-large
√ Ken Montera (R)
Lesley Smith (D)
Republicans have taken the lead in defending academic freedom and intellectual diversity in academia, which argues for keeping a Republican majority on the Board of Regents.
Montera has 30 years of experience as a corporate executive, responsible for 40,000 employees and multibillion-dollar operating budgets. Statewide, voters should elect Ken Montera.
El Paso County commissioner District 1
√ Holly Williams (R)
Frank DeLalla (D)
Former El Paso County Public Trustee Holly Williams will be a strong addition to an already above-average commission.
Williams will bring a practical agenda that few could argue with. She wants better roads, better public safety, responsible water policy, common sense environmental and planning practices, and fiscal responsibility that keeps taxes low.
As public trustee, Williams quadrupled net revenues returned to the county from $281,000 in 1999 to more than $1.2 million in 2005. She substantially reduced the operating costs of the office.
District 1 voters should elect Williams in a landslide.
El Paso County commissioner District 5
√ Cami Bremer (R)
Kari Frederick (D)
Cami Bremer’s campaign slogan is “pragmatic leadership,” and she offers realistic solutions to serious concerns.
A fiscal and social conservative, Bremer ranked fixing the I-25 gap as a top priority during her primary.
To reduce homelessness, she offers a plan to better coordinate efforts of the county, nonprofits and private businesses.
“Government cannot solve these problems alone,” she says.
She emphasizes public safety, efficient use of taxpayer money and other conservative goals among priorities.
Bremer will bring a bright, youthful, likable personality to the board of commissioners. District 5 voters should elect her.
El Paso County sheriff
√ Bill Elder (R)
Grace Sweeney-Maurer (D)
Bill Elder took over a department in peril after then-Sheriff Terry Maketa came under serious accusations of misconduct, none of which led to convictions.
Elder improved morale and redirected the office to running a jail and keeping the peace. A seasoned law enforcement professional, he continues moving the agency in a good direction.
Elder relentlessly fights drug cartels and hundreds of illegal marijuana producers that raise violent crime rates and jeopardize children. His anti-drug work has landed him on national TV warning other states about Colorado’s poorly regulated pot industry.
Democratic contender Grace Sweeney-Maurer worked as facilitator of a police training academy course in Hawaii, but she has no conventional in-the-trenches law enforcement experience.
Elder saved the Sheriff’s Office and improved public safety. Another term benefits our county.
El Paso County clerk and recorder
√ Chuck Broerman (R)
Elizabeth “Lisa” Wilkes (D)
Chuck Broerman, the incumbent since 2015, understands that voters must trust elections for our system to work.
Democrat Elizabeth “Lisa” Wilkes dismisses concerns of voter fraud, despite all the fuss over Russia trying to hack our elections. She cites a study and says “there was not a significant issue with voter fraud.”
Vote for the assurance of fair and secure elections. Vote to keep Broerman in office.
El Paso County coroner
√ Leon Kelly (R)
Chauncey Frederick (D)
Vote for Leon Kelly. Not because he is a Republican. In this position, we really, really don’t care about party. Vote for Kelly because he is a medical doctor in a position requiring medical skills. Kelly is the county’s deputy chief medical examiner.
Frederick, a likable self-described “regular Joe Schmo” — “I don’t have all these super degrees” — runs Lofty Living Bud Bed and Breakfast. It’s a place where overnight guests can smoke pot.
Not to judge the B&B, we’re just saying … for autopsies, go with the doctor.
The Gazette Editorial Board