State house balance could come down to D54

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- With the election just three weeks away, the pressure is on from Democrats and Republicans to get out and vote, even if that means standing behind a candidate some voters wanted to see drop out of the race.

For the Mesa County Republicans, it all comes down to the balance of power in the state house and what would happen to that balance if embattled House District 54 candidate Jared Wright were to lose the election, but for some Republican voters, it's about principal, not party lines.

First, he was untruthful about leaving his job with the Fruita Police Department. Then, news of a personal bankruptcy surfaced, making some voters step away from the Jared Wright campaign and into his opponent's, Libertarian Tim Menger. But some local Republicans say for republican voters, this is the wrong move.

"Every vote in that state House is important, and unless Republicans retain control of that house, we have the possibility of ending up with a complete Democratic government," Martin Chazen with the Mesa County Republicans said.

Right now, Republicans have control of the Colorado House, by only a 33 - 32 margin, but if Wright were to lose in District 54, the balance of power could potentially shift because Menger has vowed not to vote by party affiliation, something that could ultimately give Democrats control of the governor's office, Senate and House in Colorado.

"At least with our candidate with Jared Wright, he is a hard line conservative. He believes in limited government; he believes in constitutional principles," Chazen said.

Chazen said that even though some voters are unhappy with Wright, they at least know where he stands.

"We know that he is going to vote with the Republicans and do things that are right for Mesa County. It could very well come down to District 54, and that's why Mesa County Republicans have to get out and vote for Jared Wright," he said.

But not all Republican voters are convinced.

"When a candidate has proven to be untrustworthy-- I myself nor anyone-- I don't think they should compromise my principles for the party line," conservative Ken Richards said.

Even though Republicans say the balance of power in the state could come down to your vote, Richards said voting on party and not ethics is the problem with today’s politics.

"The partisan politics we have today is ‘We gotta have control at any cost.’ I disagree. We have to have reputable, honest people representing us," Richards said.

Wright’s opponent Tim Menger said he is running to stand behind the constitution, limited government and low taxes.

The Democrats failed to run a candidate in District 54.


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