Now that Columbine Valley Mayor Richard Champion has been selected to serve in the state Legislature, Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Menk will become the acting mayor of the town of about 1,300 people.
The town had an election scheduled for April 7, said Town Administrator J.D. McCrumb, but only one candidate, Roy Palmer, came forward for the mayor’s seat. In addition, each of the three town trustee seats are open.
Because all four seats are uncontested, the town plans to cancel the election, McCrumb said, and Palmer will become the town’s new mayor by default. He will be sworn in April 21.
Columbine Valley Mayor Richard Champion was selected as Colorado's newest state lawmaker on Feb. 8, and he says he's ready to push back against Democrats at the Capitol and fight to hold on to the seat.
“I will enjoy being your representative, and I can't wait to start going after the bad guys in November,” Champion told a Republican Party vacancy committee.
Champion was selected by a committee consisting of precinct captains in House District 38, which covers much of Littleton, west Centennial, Bow Mar, Columbine Valley and parts of unincorporated Jefferson County. The vacancy arose when Susan Beckman, who was reelected to the seat in 2018, stepped down in January to become the new regional director for the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Champion took 38 of the committee's 55 votes, while Arapahoe County Republican Party vice chair Brenda Stokes, a former Littleton City Council candidate, took 17.
“Our state Legislature and our governor have run amok,” Champion said in a speech, citing recent bills and efforts on the national popular vote, health care and the “red flag” law that allows police to confiscate guns from people believed to pose a threat.
Champion said he “absolutely” stands with President Donald Trump, and described himself as “pro-gun, pro-family, pro-life, pro-school choice, pro-deregulation, pro-electoral college and pro-legal immigration.”
An Army veteran, Champion is the founder of Champion Resources, an oil and gas land-acquisition firm. He was elected five times, twice as mayor and three times as town trustee, in Columbine Valley, a small residential community south of Bowles Avenue and west of the South Platte River.
Champion's opponent for the House seat, Stokes, cited her long career in project management and consulting as giving her a window into how laws affect business and life.
Stokes recalled growing up one of nine children of a widowed mother in New Mexico, whom she said never took government assistance.
“My mom taught me five important values,” Stokes said. “Follow God's lead, never be a victim, never give up, always do what's right and never depend on the government for assistance.”
Champion won't have much time to get comfortable in his new role before election season. Beckman won reelection by just 374 votes in 2018, a year that also saw incumbent Republicans ousted in Arapahoe County offices. Democrats hold majorities in the state House and Senate.
The demographics of the district are changing, said Kathleen Conti, an Arapahoe County commissioner who represents the Littleton area, claiming Democrats from Denver and California are moving in.
“Stand with me and as we talk to our friends about why these Democratic values don't work,” Conti said. “The Democrats are more than motivated to turn around HD38 once again. We've got to pick up the energy.”
The current Democratic front-runner for the seat, David Ortiz, has already raised nearly $34,000, according to state records.
Colin Larson, a Republican who represents House District 22 in Jefferson County, said the stakes are high.
“We are up against a sophisticated, ruthless machine,” Larson said. “The Democrats are smart, organized, and agenda-driven. (House District 38) is absolutely at the top of their hit list.”
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