Secretary of State candidate talks campaign in Craig

Republican Scott Gessler running against incumbent secretary in general election

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Scott Gessler

Story at a glance:

• Republican Scott Gessler running for Secretary of State against Democrat Bernie Buescher.

• Gessler currently a private election law attorney based in Denver.

• Gessler graduated from the University of Michigan with a law degree and was a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

• Gessler supports voters being required to show photo identification prior to voting, opposes allowing voters to register to vote on election days, and supports requiring new residents registering to vote to show proof of citizenship.

Republican Secretary of State candidate Scott Gessler said his “passion” for elections is a good fit for the job he hopes to have next year.

“I think that is why I was unopposed in the primary, because I think a lot of people realize I am pretty well qualified for the job,” said Gessler during a Wednesday stop in Craig for a visit with the Craig Daily Press.

Gessler, 45, is running against incumbent Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, in the November general election.

Gessler, who lives in Denver, said he has practiced election law in the private sector for more than a decade. This is his first time running in a state election, although he ran unsuccessfully for the Boulder City Council in 2003.

“Elections are pretty much my specialty,” he said. “You know, I have been doing elections for 10 years, and pretty much every aspect of it — close election recounts, election day litigation, campaign finance, ballot issues and the whole deal.”

Gessler graduated from the University of Michigan with a law degree, also has an undergraduate degree from Yale and a master’s in business administration from Northwestern University.

He was a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and served in the Army reserve for 16 years.

There are two parts to Gessler’s campaign platform — doing the job well and cleaning up election “slop,” he said.

“I don’t care what the bureaucracy says,” he said. “What I care about is, does it work?”

Above all, Gessler said he cares about fair elections.

“My view is the way you have fair elections is you have clear and unambiguous rules up front and you apply those equally to everyone,” he said.

Gessler contends that “ambiguous” and “unclear rules” lead to opportunities for election manipulation and voter fraud.

As far as doing the job well, Gessler contends he wants to “make the system work for the people.”

“I mean, to know how this stuff affects people on the ground, and I think I know that,” he said. “Well, I know a lot of it; I don’t know all of it.”

The secretary position can be a difficult one, Gessler contends.

“There is a lot to do, there is a lot of moving pieces and it’s work,” he said. “I think our (current) secretary of state has really dropped the ball in a couple of instances.”

Gessler supports voters being required to show photo identification prior to voting, opposes allowing voters to register to vote on election days and supports requiring new residents registering to vote to show proof of citizenship.

According to his website, Buescher was born in Grand Junction and has lived there most of his life there.

He was sworn in as secretary in January 2009, after then-secretary Republican Mike Coffman won the race for Sixth Congressional District.

Buescher is a former state representative and served two terms in House District 55.

Buescher graduated with a law degree from the University of Colorado in 1974 and has an accounting degree from the University of Notre Dame.

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