Committee to replace Rankin in Colorado House takes shape
A Republican panel will select the next state House representative for Garfield, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties in February, and candidates are starting to submit their names for consideration.
The House District 57 nominating committee will meet Feb. 5 in Meeker to decide who will replace Rep. Bob Rankin’s seat. Rankin is being raised to the state Senate for District 8 when Sen. Randy Baumgardner’s retirement takes effect Monday.
“The committee is trying to determine who is the best candidate to serve for this two year period,” Phil Vaughan, chairman of the District 57 nominating committee, said in an interview.
“This person will need to run, if they choose to do so, in 2020 for another two-year term in the state House,” Vaughan said.
The committee will hear presentations, and ask candidates questions “about how they would look at particular state issues, and issues that are important to Northwest Colorado,” Vaughan said.
Those questions could include topics like water, the state budget, oil and gas, recreation and tourism.
So far, two people have made their interest in the seat public. Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education representative and wife of Bob Rankin, has already submitted her formal letter of interest to the committee.
Zachary Parsons, deputy prosecuting attorney for the 9th Judicial District, said he intends to submit his name for the seat. Parsons had also put in for the Senate District 8 seat.
Glenwood Springs resident Gregg Rippy, former state representative from 2000 to 2004 and current president of the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District board, had also sought to replace Baumgardner in the Senate. But he said he will not seek appointment for the House seat.
The committee will accept applications until Feb. 3. To be considered, potential candidates must send a letter of interest and biography to the committee, along with
name, address and contact information and proof of Republican voter registration. A voter registration report can be downloaded as a PDF document from the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
The information can be sent to Vaughan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the Feb. 5 meeting, the panel of six will hear from each candidate, and whoever wins the majority of the vote will be sworn in as a representative.
The nominating committee consists of the Republican chairs of the three counties in the district, Vaughan and two other officers of the 57th District nominating committee.
At the nomination meeting for Baumgardner’s replacement Jan. 2, six candidates campaigned for the seat and the committee had to vote four times before Rankin received a majority of the votes.
Baumgardner announced his retirement in December. He survived an expulsion vote following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior and harassment.
After the state Senate switched to Democratic control following the November midterm elections, Republicans feared the majority party would rewrite expulsion rules and Baumgardner would be forced out.
The nominating meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 5, at the 4-H Community Building, 700 Sulphur Creek Road, Meeker.
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