Joining the trend that is occurring across the nation, conservative grassroots activists bucked the party machine and nominated the grassroots candidate, Tim Leonard, for Colorado Senate District 16 at the Republican state assembly today in Loveland. Leonard received 71% of the delegates’ votes, which knocked his opponent, Summit County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, from the August primary ballot. In Colorado, candidates must receive at least 30% of the vote at the state assembly to be included on the August ballot unless they go through the petition process.
Hurlbert, who had received the endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis and Colorado Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, was considered the political establishment’s pick. Leonard, a commercial real estate developer, on the other hand, was the favored candidate by the Tea Party which had made a concerted statewide effort to elect their members as assembly delegates. The activists have also shown financial support to Leonard, who had been able to raise $67,000 compared to Hurlbert’s $10,000 prior to the assembly.
Leonard has received the endorsement of former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who seconded his nomination, stating ”I’m hoping that we have a state legislature soon as it reconvenes that has the guts to do what Arizona has done, and this guy has got the guts.”
The Evergreen resident is running on a platform of lower taxes, adherence to the U.S. Constitution, and spending cuts. Referring specifically to his district, the three main issues he touched upon were beetle kill, I-70 traffic, and water rights.
However, the recurring theme he spoke of was the issue of states’ rights. He said, “This is the job I am asking you to join me in - reining in our government and limiting it to its lawful purpose.” He continued, “We as Coloradans need to stand up and remind the Federal government that it was the states that formed them and reserved to us the powers we didn’t want them to have. We’re tired of being trampled on.”