A judge has ordered the El Paso County GOP to redo an assembly election in which a sitting state representative was blocked from the June 28 primary ballot by an upstart candidate who was convicted of a felony last year.
Denver District Court Judge Marie Avery Moses found Tuesday that one of the 41 delegates who cast votes in the House District 21 Republican assembly last month was ineligible. That delegate testified that she backed the upstart candidate, Karl Dent.
Without the ineligible delegate’s vote, the incumbent, state Rep. Mary Bradfield of Colorado Springs, would have made the ballot.
Candidates needed to secure 30% of the delegate vote at the assembly to make the primary ballot. Dent drew 60.9% of the vote compared with Bradfield at 29.2%, just short of qualifying. A third candidate, Juli Henry, won 9.7% of the vote.
Moses faulted El Paso County GOP Chairwoman Vickie Tonkins for adding the ineligible delegate to the list of eligible delegates in the House District 21 Republican assembly, writing that Tonkins had “no authority to unilaterally add (her) to the list of credentialed delegates.”
The judge ordered that the results from the March 19 assembly be nullified and that a new assembly be called and a delegate election be held no later than April 24.
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The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Brenda Miller, the vice chair of the House District 21 Republican committee challenging the assembly results.
Dent owns Rocky Mountain Protective Services, a private security business in Colorado Springs. He said he is a military veteran who previously worked as a police officer for Green Mountain Falls and Cripple Creek.
Dent was convicted in August of felony trespassing. He was then sentenced in October to two years of probation. Dent is appealing the conviction, which does not appear to disqualify him from serving in the legislature.
The Gazette also reports that Dent was convicted last month of violating a civil protection order barring him from having contact with a former girlfriend. He is also accused in a separate, pending case of animal cruelty.
Bradfield, a former teacher, is finishing up her first two-year term as a state representative.