Weld County GOP Assembly results: Commissioner Moreno gets primary opponent | MyWindsorNow.com

Weld County GOP Assembly results: Commissioner Moreno gets primary opponent

Tyler Silvy
tsilvy@greeleytribune.com

— Weld County Commissioner Steve Moreno will have a primary opponent, and Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes won't, according to results of the Weld County GOP Assembly.

The assembly, which took place Saturday at Eaton High School, 114 Park Ave., featured little drama — save for those two races, where challengers emerged early.

Former Greeley City Councilwoman Sandi Elder earned a shot to face off against Moreno in the Republican primary, while former clerk and recorder employee Elisa Kunkel didn't reach the threshold necessary to get on the primary ballot against Koppes.

Elder earned 35 percent of the vote at the assembly. Elder cited dysfunction among commissioners and numerous lawsuits against the board in pitching her candidacy. Afterward, Elder said she was excited, but she also prepared for a tough campaign.

"I got on, but now the hard work starts," Elder said.

Elder has been the subject of a whisper campaign accusing her of being anti-oil and gas based on her vote against an oil and gas development in Greeley.

Although Elder has promised to run a clean campaign, a group out of Johnstown is getting involved on her behalf, putting out a negative flier about Moreno. Elder said she approached Moreno on Saturday morning to assure him she had nothing to do with the flier, which was produced by People United for Responsible Government, a 501(c)(4) organization whose president, Dave Kisker, is party to one of those lawsuits Elder mentioned. Kisker said he didn't plan to start an independent expenditure committee, and he doesn't need to disclose the money spent on fliers because they are "educational," and don't mention the commissioner race.

Elder's message to groups putting out negative information: "Don't go negative, because that's not what this is about," Elder said. "This is about the best person for the job, and I wholeheartedly believe I am that person."

Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner nominated Elder.

Moreno had a primary opponent when he was first elected to the Board of Weld County Commissioners. A former Weld County Clerk and Recorder, Moreno said he was humbled to receive 65 percent of the vote at assembly, but he said that doesn't necessarily represent the entire Republican electorate.

"We will continue to message what I stand for, and humbly ask for support as I move forward," said Moreno, who enjoyed the support of numerous notable elected officials.

Elder or Moreno will face Democratic candidate Carl Erickson, the president of local environmental group Weld Air and Water, as Erickson earned the Democratic nomination Saturday at the Weld County Democratic Party Assembly.

Kunkel sought to unseat her former boss, Koppes, while at the same time pursuing a federal lawsuit — also against her.

Kunkel's campaign hopes are now dead, but her lawsuit lives on.

Kunkel needed 30 percent of the vote at assembly to make the primary ballot, and she earned about 28 percent.

Koppes and Kunkel embraced afterward, and Koppes said she felt blessed to clear this hurdle.

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She will have an opponent in the general election, as Democratic opponent Susie Velasquez recently announced her candidacy and was confirmed during the Weld County Democratic Party Assembly.

"I'm going to continue working hard and running my campaign," Koppes said, adding that she has made numerous improvements at the clerk and recorder's office.

Koppes was nominated by Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor, the Colorado House District 49 representative, who was also nominated to the ballot as she seeks re-election this November. She was joined on stage by numerous notable elected officials.

— Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at tsilvy@greeleytribune.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.

The nominees

A closer look at the people nominated for various offices Saturday during the Weld County GOP Assembly in Eaton.

Weld County Commissioner at-large

Steve Moreno — The incumbent, Moreno received 65 percent of the vote. Moreno is the former Weld County Clerk and Recorder, and was elected to the Board of Weld County Commissioners in 2014.

Sandi Elder — The challenger, Elder received 35 percent of the vote. Elder is a former Greeley City Council member.

*Weld County Commissioner District 2

Scott James — James is the mayor of Johnstown, and will likely face off against Greeley City Councilman Mike Finn, who is awaiting confirmation of signatures to be on the Republican primary ballot against James. Finn did not participate in the assembly.

Weld County Clerk and Recorder

Carly Koppes — The incumbent, Koppes earned 72 percent of the vote, keeping Republican opponent Elisa Kunkel off the primary ballot. Koppes was first elected in 2014. Koppes will face Weld County Public Trustee Susie Velasquez, a Democratic candidate for clerk and recorder.

*Weld County Sheriff

Steve Reams — The incumbent, Reams was first elected in 2014, taking over for now-state Sen. John Cooke.

*Weld County Assessor

Brenda Dones — Dones looks to take the place of Chris Woodruff, the current assessor who is term limited. Dones is currently the deputy assessor for Weld County.

Colorado Senate District 13

John Cooke — The incumbent, Cooke was first elected in 2014 after serving as Weld County sheriff for three terms. Cooke will face Democratic challenger Phil Kelley, who bills himself as a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Colorado House District 48

Steve Humphrey — The incumbent, Humphrey was first elected in 2012. Humphrey will face Democratic challenger Gbenga Ajiboye, a chemical engineer.

Colorado House District 50

Mike Thuener — An Army veteran and University of Northern Colorado graduate, Thuener was nominated on the floor Saturday. He works in phone systems for businesses. Thuener will face the winner of a Democratic primary between former Greeley City Councilwoman Rochelle Galindo and former District 50 representative Jim Riesberg.

Colorado House District 63

Lori Saine — The incumbent, Saine was first elected to the house in 2012. Saine will face Democratic challenger Brandon Bobian.

*Democratic nominations for Weld County Commissioner District 2, Weld County Sheriff and Weld County Assessor were sent to the Democratic vacancy committee, and the deadline for candidates in those races is April 13.