Unlike El Paso County, Larimer County Republicans have dodged a divisive primary. State Representative B.J. Nikkel announced that she will not seek reelection in 2012.
“I have decided not to seek reelection in 2012,” Nikkel announced. “While I am disappointed that Democrats on the Reapportionment Commission gerrymandered Brian [DelGrosso] and me into the same district, I am very proud of what we have accomplished in the state House. This year, I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents and the people of Colorado by building a better Colorado for them.” Nikkel has kind words for Rep. Brian DelGrosso of Loveland’s House District 51. Speaker of the House Frank McNulty and Rep. Brian DelGrosso both thanked Nikkel for her service.
DelGrosso will still face a contested election. According to his first campaign filing, Democratic Party challenger Mark Shaffer raised $10,209 in contributions and has nearly $10,000 on-hand. Shaffer has contributors from afar afield as Arlington, Virginia , Upper Marlboro, Maryland and Marrero, Louisiana. Shaffer also received a contribution from attorney Rich Ball of Loveland, who unsuccessfully challenged state Senator Kevin Lundberg in the 2010 election.
Shaffer’s wife Joan is on the Loveland City Council. Shaffer’s website features photos of a reception held for Congressman Jared Polis in Loveland. We wrote previously about how the City of Loveland used official resources to promote Polis’ candidacy. (LovelandPolitics.com had more details.) House ethics rules also severely restrict sitting Congressmen from conducting constituent services outside their districts–even when
According to campaign finance filings, DelGrosso had over $8,700 on hand on January 25.
Rep. Nikkel is the House Republican Whip, while Delgrosso is a freshman House member. Democrats redrew House District 51 to include Rep. Nikkel’s residence near Carter Lake into a district dominated by Loveland.
Nikkel had apparently held open the chance of running in Loveland. On January 17, Nikkel transferred $7,066 from her House District 49 committee to a new committee for House District 51. She did not raise any additional monies, however.
Nikkel now has the option of contributing those funds to a party committee, a charity, or refunding monies to her contributors. She could also retain the funds for a future potential campaign, but in some cases the ability to roll the funds into a new campaign may be limited. As an elected official, Nikkel has even more options for using the campaign funds. She can use the funds to defray “reasonable and necessary” expenses of serving in the legislature, or donate the funds for post-secondary scholarships. She could also choose to spend the money on voter registration drives or issue education.
The Democratic Party’s reapportionment targeted a number of Republican incumbents. Rep. Amy Stephens, the House Majority Leader, was redrawn into a contested primary with Rep. Marsha Looper. Looper is already sending direct mail pieces placing a photo of Stephens next to Barack Obama. Stephens sponsored SB 11-200 in the last session, legislation that is intended to establish a state health care exchange in Colorado. Stephens has countered by pointing to Looper’s support for SB 08-217, the Centennial Care Choices bill, which contained a health insurance mandate and higher taxes to fund it.
Conservatives in Larimer County will benefit from avoiding another primary forced by legislative reapportionment. Both DelGrosso and Nikkel have been strong fiscal conservatives, as demonstrated by their Colorado Union of Taxpayers ratings.