By Don Knox, STATE BILL COLORADO
Some GOP political hopefuls in Garfield County have quiet feelers out in the wake of Rep. Kathleen Curry’s switch from Democrat to unaffiliated, but nobody’s stepped forward to announce publicly, a local Republican Party official said Wednesday.
“Hopefully, we have someone who wants to have a good go,” said Marilyn Oden, secretary for the Garfield County Republicans.
Oden declined Wednesday to say what Republicans have inquired about running for House District 61 now that Curry, the current speaker pro tem, will be forced to compete as a write-in candidate. Curry, of Gunnison, on Tuesday told House Speaker Terrance Carroll and Gov. Bill Ritter about the affiliation switch.
“It’s kind of a bombshell,” Oden said. “We’re scratching our heads about it.”
The news was particularly interesting because unaffiliated voters in HD-61 tend to side with Republican candidates over Democratic ones, Oden said.
“I don’t think she (Curry) is going to cater to Republicans or conservatives in any manner,” Oden said. “We have many people in the county have contacted her to vote no on (a lot of) legislation.”
Curry has served in the House since 2005. Her opponent in that election cycle was Becky Rippy, then a special advocate for children in the county’s Ninth Judicial District. Rippy couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
Rippy is the cousin of former Rep. Gregg Rippy, also a Republican, a former congressional candidate and the person before Curry to represent the district. He also was not immediately available for comment.
HD-61 includes Hinsdale, Gunnison, Pitkin, Eagle, and Garfield counties. Unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats and Republicans.
Garfield County is traditionally Republican territory. Besides Curry, the other representative serving Garfield County is a Republican, Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs. And presidential candidate John McCain won the county in the 2008 election — albeit by just four votes.