Wright is solid choice as Republican nominee in House District 54

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—Jared Wright, shown with his wife, Rachel, at the House District 54 Republican Assembly on Saturday, won the delegate vote for nomination to the legislative seat 38-7 over John “Rusty” Price, who immediately endorsed Wright.

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—John “Rusty” Price, a vineyard owner from Palisade, could have tried to petition for a spot on the Republican primary ballot, even with his poor showing Saturday at the House District 54 Assembly. Instead, he backed delegate winner Jared Wright, telling him, “You have to look at my ideas.” Wright readily agreed to do so.

The 45 delegates at the Republican House District 54 Assembly needed little convincing Saturday that Jared Wright was their man for the job as representative to the Colorado House.

The Fruita police officer easily defeated Palisade vineyard owner John “Rusty” Price to win the party’s nomination, winning 84 percent of the vote.

Wright, who vowed to bring good conservative values to Denver, won 38 delegates to Price’s seven.

“I’m going to stick to my words and to my integrity,” Wright told the delegates immediately after the vote. “I do promise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, something we don’t see in many of our representatives today. You will always have my ear, and my door will always be open.”

Wright’s nomination seemed a foregone conclusion after already gaining the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and with Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland nominating him for the role.

Both said Wright is committed to conservative values and helping get government out of the way of business, including doing away with the business personal property tax, something many elected officials in the statehouse have promised to do in recent years, but have not achieved.

Price said he was disappointed he received few delegate votes. He got more than the 10 percent needed to petition onto the ballot and force a primary in June, but less than the 30 percent required to make the ballot automatically.

Price said he won’t attempt to petition onto the ballot. Instead, he immediately endorsed Wright, with one caveat: “You have to look at my ideas and take them with you,” he told the nominee.

Wright promised to do just that.

“He is a man of some excellent ideas that I will listen to,” Wright said of Price.

The two men became the only two candidates standing for the job after state Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, announced Thursday she was leaving the race to take care of her husband, Linton Matthews, who recently suffered a heart attack.

Bradford had been embroiled in a controversy surrounding a DUI traffic stop, legislative privilege and a threat to leave the GOP, which could have turned the Republican-controlled House over to the Democrats.

Currently, Republicans have a one-vote majority in the House.

Several delegates, all of whom asked not to be identified, said Bradford’s threat to leave the party was a factor in their recent disgruntlement with the two-term lawmaker. They said her threatening to leave the party was bad enough, but when she later tried to deny she ever made that threat, it caused them to lose faith in her ability to represent them in Denver.

All of those delegates said they had no intention of supporting her nomination for the newly redrawn district, which includes all of Mesa County outside of Grand Junction and the western half of Delta County.

To date, no Democrat has entered the race, but Wright said it still might happen. As a result, he said he will not act as if the job is already his.

“We’re going to get our team together,” Wright said. “We’re going to focus on the issues, and we’re going to focus on what needs to be done.”


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