Douglas County Republican voters chose George Teal over Clint Dorris as the party's candidate for the District 2 county commission seat in a race that saw accusations hurled back and forth by the candidates' backers.
Unofficial results as of 8 a.m. MT July 1 seat in the primary election that ended June 30 showed Teal with 53.6% of the vote and Dorris with 46.5%.
It was the only contested primary election for Douglas County commissioner.
Teal, a Castle Rock town council member, will go up against Democrat Lisa Neal-Graves in the November general election. The three will compete for the District 2 commissioner seat, currently held by Roger Partridge.
In unofficial primary results July 1, Republicans Teal and Dorris drew a combined 45,403 votes while Democrat Neal-Graves, who was unopposed, garnered 41,351 votes.
Dorris, who received about two-thirds of the vote in the March 28 online Republican Party assembly, had been endorsed by Partridge. District 2 encompasses southern and western Douglas County, including Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Larkspur, Perry Park and Roxborough.
While commissioners on the three-member board represent different geographic areas, they are elected at-large, meaning registered voters from the entire county are eligible to vote for candidates in each district.
Teal, a software project manager and IT business consultant, has served on the Castle Rock town council since 2014. In his campaign for commissioner, he supported adopting a local version of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) and establishing Douglas County as a 2nd Amendment "sanctuary county" for gun rights. He also advocated forming a Douglas County health department separate from the county's current affiliation with the Tri-County Health Department.
Dorris, meanwhile, supported creating a 50-year water plan and eliminating any statute that “provides an unelected official or employee to override the decisions of elected officials,” he said in responses to a Colorado Community Media questionnaire.
Both candidates advocated making Douglas County a home-rule county.
During the campaign, supporters of Dorris have accused Teal, a U.S. Army veteran, of lying about his military record.
In a letter to Castle Rock Mayor Jason Gray dated May 19, David Stone, state commander of the Colorado chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars, said Stone objected to Teal describing himself as “a veteran of Operation Desert Storm,” adding that Teal served in Germany during the operation. An email sent from the Veterans of Foreign Wars showing that it terminated Teal’s membership has circulated on social media.
Teal told Colorado Community Media in June that the accusations are a “smear campaign” that has been “blown out of proportion.”
Ryan Lynch, a spokesman for the Teal campaign, said the candidate has never lied about his military record.
“That is categorically unfounded,” Lynch said. “He’s never once said ‘I was in combat in Iraq.’ He does say he’s a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.”
Dorris said last month that the military accusation was an important part of the election because it calls into question his opponent’s honesty.
“It’s applicable here because if someone is lying to dishonor the military and themselves ... to elevate themselves, what does that say about them relative to running for county commissioner or being an elected official?” he said.
However, Dorris at the time calls Teal a friend and says he doesn’t see this election as being overly contentious.
“This is small-ball pettiness,” he said.
A group called the Campaign Integrity Watchdog, whose director, Matt Arnold, is the designated filing agent for the Teal campaign, had filed two complaints against Dorris in the election, according to the state’s campaign records.
Both complaints claim that the Dorris campaign failed to include appropriate financial disclaimers on its website and in other materials. In the website complaint, the Elections Divisions of the Secretary of State’s Office recommended that it be dismissed.
In the second case, alleging that the Dorris campaign didn’t disclose the finances behind a packet of materials handed out to delegates, the Elections Division filed a complaint with the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts.
“They have filed frivolous claims against me,” Dorris said of the complaints.
The Teal campaign has had three penalties for late filings of major contributor reports.
Elected county officials who donated to the Dorris campaign include Sheriff Tony Spurlock, Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth and Renee Anderson, a Highlands Ranch Metro District director.
State Rep. Kim Ransom, R-Acres Green, along with county Treasurer Dave Gill and Parker Councilmember Jeff Toborg, donated to the Teal campaign.
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