Junction Democrat will challenge Scott to fill King’s spot in Senate

Sen. Steve King (left) debates Claudette Konola (right) in 2010.

Rep. Ray Scott

Rep. Ray Scott won’t be the only name on the ballot next year in his bid to become Mesa County’s newest state senator.

That’s because a Democrat, Grand Junction resident Claudette Konola, has entered the race to challenge the Republican to replace Sen. Steve King, a Republican who’s running for county sheriff.

Konola, who will make her announcement official in a Thursday press conference, created a campaign account with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Monday, unofficially launching that bid for Senate District 7.

Konola, who lost a bid for that same seat against King in 2010, said she decided to get into the race, in part, because no other Democrat would.

“A lot of Democrats are afraid to run because they are afraid that if their name is associated with the Democratic Party they will be blackballed in this community for things like jobs,” she said. “I find that absolutely anti-Democratic and unconscionable, but that’s reality. Well, I’m retired. I’m not looking for a job unless it’s in the Colorado Senate.”

While Konola said she knows she faces an uphill battle in what is a largely conservative Senate district, she said things have changed a bit since then.

First, because of that previous bid, Konola has more name recognition now than she did three years ago, and the demographics in the county have changed when it comes to party loyalty.

In 2010, registered Republicans made up 51 percent of the vote, with Democrats trailing far behind with 22 percent.

While Democrats’ total percentage of all registered voters in the county has actually gone down since then, to 20 percent, Republicans’ hold on the electorate has fallen, too, to 45 percent.

That’s why she’ll be targeting the growing bloc of unaffiliated voters in the county, which has gone up 8 percentage points to more than 34 percent of the voters.

“If they are over 50 they are probably to the right of Attila the Hun and they’ve gotten disillusioned with the Republican Party,” she said of some of the unaffiliated voters. “But if they are under 30, maybe even under 40, they are young people who just don’t like labels and think that if they belong to a political party, that means they accept all of the platforms of that party, and they just don’t want to be labeled that way.”

As a result, she said it really will come down to who is the best person for the job, and Konola says that’s her.

While Konola is a life-long Democrat, she doesn’t always follow all of the party’s tenets, including the controversial gun bills that her party approved during this year’s legislative session.

She said he would not introduce or even co-sponsor any gun-control measure.

Konola said she supports people’s Second Amendment rights and favors gun ownership and conceal-and-carry permits.

“I am supportive of the sheriff’s lawsuit against the gun bills,” she said. “While there may be some people in this community who think I am anti-gun, they are absolutely wrong.”


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A reminder to those that once supported Ray. At his first appearance before the Western Slope Conservative Alliance candidate forum, he stated two interesting positions.  The first was he was only going to run “once.”  That he had no intention of making this a habit. Audience did the: HA HA thing.  The second is he wanted to “sell all public lands” (since he has been a developer I can only assume the sales would be to wealthy developers like Shell, Anadarko etc for oil and gas development at the expense of our agriculture).  He would have the state put the money aside for state use.  If this idea had been followed, the money would be gone by now after the fires of last year and this year’s flooding. Hunters would not have a place to hunt, fishermen could not fish, most of the Western Slope access to our state would be gone and businesses and jobs would be a thing of the past. Would anyone want to live here if you could only see the state driving down the road?  Now, after his TWO terms in office as Representative, he has not taken enough interest in the laws of the state to follow candidacy requirements without blaming “those” people, “their” rules, no one told him.  Who tells you which leg goes first into your pants Ray? Come on everyone.  Is Ray really the person you want to represent your BEST interests?  If I had accorded myself in my job as he has as a Representative, people could have died.  He is at best a chair-warmer and my fellow Republicans know it. If you like living in Colorado it is because in the past the state came first over partisan politics.  Konola maybe a Democrat but she thinks for herself.

I will never forget Claudette’s performance in the debate with Steve King in 2010.  She displayed a sneering and condescending attitude toward Steve and topped the evening with her nasty peacock
comment directed at him.  Since Steve is a genuinely nice guy it got her nowhere on election night.

I agree. I too like Steve King and I’m glad to see he is going back to his real love…law enforcement.  But Claudette Konola is not running against Steve, a man of proven integrity.  Ray Scott goes out of his way to blame others for his short comings.  He has been in office and has run 2 now 3 campaigns and he doesn’t know how to follow the laws of the state regarding candidate financial disclosure requirements?  You and I would make the mistake once, but he makes a habit of it.  Why would I want to give him campaign money? He has been making state law and doesn’t follow the law. Steve made that mistake once and got into a lot of trouble.  How is Scott side-stepping censure? Then Ray goes around blaming the nebulous “their” rules, “they” didn’t tell him, etc.  He’s a grown man…I think.  Claudette Konola has been an open book the last 2 years on her Free Press commentary. Ask yourself, what has Ray Scott accomplished for the Western Slope? Just because he is a Republican does not mean he gets my vote.

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