Junction Democrat switches races, now opposing Rep. King

The Democrat who had planned to vie for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Steve King now plans to run against him for the Colorado Senate.

Grand Junction resident Claudette Konola announced Thursday she is switching from a bid for House District 54, which King currently holds, to run instead for Senate District 7, which the Grand Junction Republican is hoping to win.

King announced earlier this year he would not seek another term in the House after Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, said he wouldn’t run for a final term in the Senate.

Penry briefly was in the running for the GOP primary for governor, but he ended that bid late last year.

Konola said her decision to switch races wasn’t an easy one, but strong support she has received to run against King outside of the House district convinced her otherwise.

“At lot of people started asking me if I would consider switching races, and I dilly-dallied quite a bit,” she said. “But when a lot of people who couldn’t vote for me made that suggestion, I started to think about it more seriously. I didn’t have as many people coming to me saying, ‘Please run for the House seat.’ “

To date, there are no primaries for the Senate seat in either party, so Konola would face King in November.

King, who could not be reached for comment, already was expected to face Libertarian Party candidate Gilbert Fuller of Grand Junction in the November election.

Konola’s switch leaves no Democrat running in either House district that serves Mesa County, but chairwoman Martelle Daniels said she still holds out hope someone will emerge.

Three Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination for House District 54: David Cox, Robert Hislop and Ray Scott.

Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, is not facing a primary challenger for House District 55.


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