Republicans deny partisan intrusion in town race

Candidate's endorsement list heavy on GOP references

Posted 3/20/14

George Teal is running for a Castle Rock Town Council seat in District 6, a nonpartisan race with two other candidates — David Hickey and Matt Werner.

But Teal has sent out a long list of the people endorsing him, which include Douglas County …

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Republicans deny partisan intrusion in town race

Candidate's endorsement list heavy on GOP references

Posted

George Teal is running for a Castle Rock Town Council seat in District 6, a nonpartisan race with two other candidates — David Hickey and Matt Werner.

But Teal has sent out a long list of the people endorsing him, which include Douglas County GOP Chairman Craig Steiner, Douglas County GOP Treasurer Ed Brewer, Douglas County GOP District Captain Dave Gill, several other GOP leaders and Margo Knutson, who puts on Coffee 4 Conservatives events.

In a March 14 email sent out by GOP leadership, people are asked to contact Knutson:

“Recently, the members of the Castle Rock Town Council stood strong for the 2nd Amendment rights of its citizens, businesspeople, and visitors. Now, they are running for re-election.

“If you're willing to defend our 2nd Amendment rights by helping its strong supporters get elected and re-elected, please contact Margo Knutson at margoknutson@gmail.com.”

Treasurer Ed Brewer said in a March 21 interview that Hickey — running against a person Knutson had endorsed, Teal — had a problem with that email and contacted the GOP chairman, Craig Steiner, about it.

Brewer said he doesn't know the outcome of that conversation, but said he personally doesn't have a problem with the email.

“We're not saying any names. We're not telling people to contact Margo for information,” Brewer said.

He said people are being asked to contact Knutson, “to work, to volunteer.” He said she's obviously representing the Republican Party, but isn't on the executive committee.

“I think Dave Hickey is putting more emphasis on this than it deserves,” he said.

Brewer said, regarding having his name and GOP title on Teal's endorsement list, “George Teal has a lot of friends that just happen to be Republican.”

“The Republican Party is not endorsing George Teal. The GOP is not getting involved, has not yet vetted any candidate, not supported any candidate,” he said.

Brewer said Teal, through golfing and other activities, just happens to have a lot of friends who are Republican.

“That's the only connection … I can assure you the Douglas County Republican Party is not taking a position (on this race),” he said.

Brewer said the party made a conscious decision not to back any candidate.

But he said he is OK with Teal putting his, Brewer's, GOP title next to his name on Teal's endorsement list.

“It's a nonpartisan (race), but it's certainly political,” he said.

Steiner couldn't be reached for comment.

Hickey told the News-Press March 21 he didn't want to comment on the issue, that he wanted to deal with the issue internally, not through the press.

Teal said in a March 21 interview that “the GOP has not given me a formal endorsement. I haven't been named their nominee for this position.”

But Teal said on the same hand he's not going to run away from his political beliefs.

Teal said Knutson, who endorsed him, runs a group, Coffee 4 Conservatives, and doesn't hold an office.

“Margot is a grassroots organizer in DC. She is exercising her right to free speech … She isn't crossing a line.”

Knutson couldn't be reached for comment.

Werner, the other candidate in the race, said he doesn't intend to complain to the GOP about it, that he's been advised “it's politics as usual” in the county and that it'll probably get even uglier.

“I don't see myself as a politician,” he said.

Werner, a retired attorney, now head of a Catholic humanitarian organization, said he's just volunteering to be a political servant.

In addition to the District 6 race, there are seats available in Districts 3, 5 and 7.

Castle Rock's election, a mail-ballot election, is April 1. Ballots must be returned to Castle Rock Town Hall by 7 p.m.

Winners of the election will be sworn in April 15.

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