Thornton Drops Out of Race, Democrats Looking for New Candidate

by Gus Jarvis
Aug 02, 2012 | 1636 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE Greg Thornton announced last week he was withdrawing his candidacy for House District 58. (Courtesy photo)
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE Greg Thornton announced last week he was withdrawing his candidacy for House District 58. (Courtesy photo)

WESTERN SLOPE – With less than 100 days until the November election, leaders of the Democratic Party within Colorado’s House District 58 are now searching for a candidate to take on incumbent Republican State Rep. Don Coram after Greg Thornton announced his withdrawal from the race last week.

“It’s with deep regret that I must report that I’m ending my campaign as of today for House District 58,” Thornton stated in his withdrawal announcement. “This is a decision that I didn’t come to lightly. In the end, family must come before personal ambitions and that is why I must withdraw….The support that you all provided me makes this decision even more difficult for me to come to. However, I believe this is for the best, and I hope that you will support the Democratic candidate, which will replace me this November.”

As co-chair of the Democratic Party of HD 58 and a voting member of the party’s vacancy committee, Brian Ahern said Tuesday the search is on to find a willing candidate. The vacancy committee, comprised of chairpersons from each of the four counties in the HD 58 (San Miguel, Dolores, Montrose and Montezuma), must first notice a meeting and then convene to discuss any possible candidates who meet the party’s requirements.

Ahern said Democrats in the HD 58 have until Sept. 2 to register a candidate with the Colorado Secretary of State.

“I really like Greg,” Ahern said. “He was enthusiastic and brought energy to the party. I admire and respect him in sticking it out as long as he did in a county [Montrose] that’s not friendly to Democrats. I really respect him for putting his name out there, and I am obviously disappointed that he had to get out of the race.”

Whoever does run against Coram, Ahern said, must not run as a Democrat in name alone, but must take a stance and represent Democratic values in a district where doing that isn’t easy. Ahern expressed frustration at last year’s Colorado Supreme Court’s approval of the Colorado Reappointment Commissions new House District map, which moved Ouray County from District 58 to 59. The approved House District Map, he said, has left a portion of San Miguel County without a voice.

“I think we have been hung out to dry in the 58th,” Ahern said. “Mickey Mouse could run as a Republican in 58 and get elected. You could walk on water as a Democratic candidate and you wouldn’t win, because the way the district is so gerrymandered. [Coram’s] position on uranium and civil unions is completely unacceptable. He’s not a bad guy, but I don’t think he represents the values of voters in San Miguel County and for that, we lack representation at the state level.”

Would Ahern, who unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2006, consider running again?

“Don’t threaten me with a good time,” he said. “I have been asked by several of Don Coram’s counterparts in the House if I would consider running. Before any decision of that caliber is made, I would have to sit down with my family and see what makes the best sense for my family.” or @GusJarvis

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