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Politics and Government

Westminster’s elections may be nonpartisan, but partisanship is a big theme in recall contest

The recall election for city Councilor Jon Voelz is happening on Tuesday

The Westminster clock tower
The Westminster clock tower overlooking Westminster City Hall at the corner of 92nd and Yates Drive.

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

Though Westminster’s pro- and anti-recall election groups say they are not motivated by partisanship, an analysis of campaign materials and new financial filings show that liberal and conservative ideology are major themes of campaign messaging.

The recall election for city Councilor Jon Voelz happening on Tuesday was initiated last year when the Water Warriors group sought to oust four members of the council for their positions on water rates. However, as the political climate has heated up in the days and weeks before the July 20 election, the two sides debated the issue of partisanship with as much fervor as the water rates controversy.

Mayor Pro Tem David DeMott leveled the partisan accusations in a Facebook video Saturday, which was then shared by the Water Warriors.

“I’m not really sure who’s driving partisanship but the folks from Defend Westminster,” DeMott said. “It’s the folks from Defend Westminster who have taken thousands of dollars from the Democrat party, who are now doing a mailer that is leading you to believe that this is about a partisan takeover that somehow has something to do with guns.”

A campaign mailer sent out by Defend Westminster attacked Kathleen Dodaro, the candidate running to replace Voelz if he’s recalled. The mailer included photos of a headline of a letter to the editor Dodaro submitted to The Denver Post in 2012 criticizing gun safety regulations. The mailer’s headline was, “HERE’S A GLIMPSE OF RECALL EXTREMISTS’ REAL AGENDA…”

The Water Warriors posted a photo of the mailer on Facebook.  Dodaro took issue with the mailer, saying it portrays her as a “right-wing extremist that does not support common sense gun laws. That is not true.” 

DeMott said in his Saturday morning video that the mailer was “the most vile thing, the most divisive piece of literature I have seen in a Westminster election to date.” In the video, DeMott, was wearing a hat with the words, “Lions Not Sheep,” a clothing brand and slogan embraced by those who believe the 2020 presidential election had a different outcome. DeMott has previously voiced support for those who were “peacefully” protesting in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 to call for an investigation into the 2020 election. 

The Jan. 6 riot at the nation’s Capitol was deadly and dozens of people are facing federal criminal charges in connection with the violent incident.


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