Unite Colorado Announces New Candidate Endorsement, Seven New Steering Committee Members

Unite Colorado today endorsed the candidacy of independent Paul Jones for Colorado House District 59, and announced the addition of seven new members to its Steering Committee, including former state legislators Cheri Jahn (I), Norma Anderson (R), Lois Tochtrop (D), and Rob Witwer (R).

Unite Colorado Announces New Candidate Endorsement,
Seven New Steering Committee Members

Statewide Movement to Elect Independent State Legislators Continues to Build Momentum

DENVER –– Unite Colorado today endorsed the candidacy of independent Paul Jones for Colorado House District 59, and announced the addition of seven new members to its Steering Committee, including former state legislators Cheri Jahn (I), Norma Anderson (R), Lois Tochtrop (D), and Rob Witwer (R).

“We are very pleased to expand our steering committee with leaders who have earned respect from both sides of the aisle, and we are excited to help propel Paul’s campaign to victory in HD-59,” said Nick Troiano, executive director of Unite Colorado. “With all five of our endorsed candidates turning in their signatures to get on the ballot today, our movement is building significant momentum as we head toward November’s election.”

Paul Jones Endorsement

Jones, a former game warden and law enforcement officer, is in a two-way race against Democratic incumbent Barbara McLaughlin in HD-59. No Republican candidate will be on the ballot. The district consists of six counties in southwest Colorado: Archuleta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, La Plata, Ourway, and San Juan. La Plata County makes up 75% of the district and holds its largest city, Durango.

“Paul is a dedicated public servant who is offering voters in HD-59 something new: a representative who puts their community ahead of the political parties and special interests,” said Troiano. “Paul is exactly the type of person Unite Colorado was built to support, and he’s exactly the type of independent, common-sense problem-solver Colorado needs in the legislature.”

Both Republicans and unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats in HD-59, which has traditionally held one of the most tightly contested house races in the state. McLaughlin finished her first term in the legislature this year after winning election by 675 votes over J. Paul Brown, a Republican, in 2016. Before Brown, the seat was held by McLaughlin’s husband, Mike, who was defeated by 170 votes in 2014.

Unite Colorado Steering Committee

Unite Colorado also announced that seven individuals have joined its Steering Committee:

  • Former State Legislator Norma Anderson (R) –- served in the State House (1987-1998) and State Senate (1999-2005), including as both House and Senate Majority Leader
  • Dan Burcaw –- Serial Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
  • Dan Himelspach –- President, Dispute Management
  • State Senator Cheri Jahn (I) –- First state senator to serve as an independent; Served in the State Senate since 2011 and in the State House (2001-2008)
  • Leslie Lawson –- Mediator, Dispute Management
  • Former State Legislator Lois Tochtrop (D) ––  served in the State House (1999-2004) and State Senate (2005-2014), including as Assistant Senate Majority Leader
  • Former State Representative Rob Witwer (R) (2005-2009)

Anderson and Tochtrop, who served a combined 35 years in the legislature and in the leadership of their respective parties, said of their support of Unite Colorado: “Colorado needs better choices and true representation who will work for all of us –– not just teams red or blue.”

Other Notes

Unite Colorado’s full endorsed candidate slate includes Steve Peterson (SD-30), Maile Foster (HD-18), Jay Geyer (HD-33), Thea Chase (HD-54), and Paul Jones (HD-59). (Unite Colorado is no longer endorsing a candidate in HD-31.)

Unite Colorado’s endorsed candidates have collectively raised more than $122,000 without accepting any contribution from political action committees (PACs), based on the latest public finance reports made available on July 2. A report by the Unite America Institute last year found 85% of Colorado voters are open to supporting independent candidates for state legislature.

Both political parties in Colorado continue to lose market share to unaffiliated voters. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, between January and June of 2018, Democrats gained 4,649 voters, Republicans lost 846, and the unaffiliated rolls grew by 35,529. There continues to be significantly more unaffiliated voters in Colorado (38% of the statewide electorate) than either Democrats (31%) or Republicans (30%).

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Unite Colorado is a citizens movement to bridge the growing partisan divide by electing common sense, independent candidates to office. For more information, please visit: www.UniteColorado.org.

Paid for by Unite Colorado, a project of Unite America.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. www.UniteAmerica.org


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