Republican contender emerges in secretary of state race

WAYNEWILLIAMS: El Paso County clerk is only GOP contender so far

JOE NEGUSE: CU regent to face former legislator Ken Gordon in Democratic race

Now that Secretary of State Scott Gessler officially is running for governor, a Republican has entered the ring to replace him.

El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams, who is in his first term in that office, has announced his plans to run for the statewide seat.

He’s the only GOP candidate in the race, but another Republican is considering entering it, too.

State Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, said he is pondering the idea, but may not do so because his friend, Williams, has already announced.

“I’ll know in a week or so if I’m going to do it,” Gardner told The Daily Sentinel. “Wayne’s a friend of mine, so I don’t know if I want to run against him.”

Whomever that GOP candidate is, he will face one of two Democrats who are vying for the position.

Joe Neguse, who represents the 2nd Congressional District on the University of Colorado Board of Regents, is to face former Senate Minority Leader Ken Gordon of Denver for the Democratic Party nomination. Gordon lost the seat in 2006 to Mike Coffman, who later was elected to Congress representing the 6th Congressional District.

Williams, who was elected to county clerk in 2010, served as the El Paso County trustee under former Gov. Bill Owens. After that, he served as an El Paso County commissioner from 2003 to 2011.

Unlike a majority of other county clerks in the state, including many from his own party, Williams argued against the election reform measure approved by the Legislature earlier this year, saying it eliminated neighborhood polling places and will make it easier for fake “residents” to vote.

He favors requiring photo identification before casting a ballot and advocates for removing illegal registrants from voting rolls.

Neguse is a Denver attorney who was elected to the CU board in 2008.

He says on his website,, that he will return “integrity, transparency and accountability” to the office, saying the office under Gessler has been the victim of “partisan games.”

To date, Neguse has raised more than $28,000 for his campaign, while Gordon, who does not have a website and has done little campaigning, has raised about $11,000, $10,000 of which came from a loan from himself.

Meanwhile, a fifth Republican has entered the race for governor.

Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp of Littleton filed his paperwork for the office last week. He joins Gessler, former congressman Tom Tancredo, state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray and Meeker resident Jim Rundberg.

Three other Republicans who had jumped into the race have since left. They include Loma resident Michael Frick, Arvada mortician George Anthony Malesich and Fort Collins resident Steve Laffey.


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