According to the El Paso County sample ballot, there are four contested races in the 2010 Republican Primary on August 10th. They are:
- Ken Buck vs Jane Norton
- Dan Maes vs Scott McGinnis
- JJ Ament vs Walker Stapleton
El Paso County Sheriff
- Terry Maketa vs Jake Shirk
In my short series, I'll work the list from bottom to top, which will leave the most hotly contested races until last. To be honest, I didn't even know the Colorado Treasurer was a contested race until I looked, so we'll look at that race next time. In the meantime, the Gazette has published a voter guide.
Terry Maketa and Jake Shirk have much in common, and much to commend them. To be honest, I think either one would be a good sheriff. First, they both support Vermont/Alaska/Arizona-type firearm laws for Colorado, namely that no license or permit of any kind should be required to carry a concealed firearm, but Shirk has made it part of his platform, while Maketa only brought it up when questioned in an interview. Both support a Colorado version of the excellent Arizona Immigration Bill. Both believe that Medical Marijuana is here to stay, but agree that abuse should be prosecuted. Shirk goes a bit further, stating that he voted against the dispensaries, but will uphold the Colorado law. Maketa did not specify his personal feelings on the law. I think he's just playing it safe politically. Of course, with no Democratic challenger, why would he feel the need to do that?
I think Maketa has a stronger position concerning not removing sworn deputies from the El Paso County Jail, as Shirk stated he intends to pursue, but I really like Jake Shirk's promise to publish the Sheriff's Department budget on the web. It is a big step toward a more open government. In addition, Maketa's April accusation that Shirk, a 35 year law enforcement veteran (vs. Maketa's 23 years), lacked experience left a bad taste in my mouth. As you will see in upcoming posts, I really don't like politicians who play dirty, and even though the sheriff's race has been pretty tame compared to others, when two candidates are this closely matched, the one who plays it clean will earn my vote. Add a very strong 2nd Amendment stance and a commitment to open government, and I'm sold.
I'm supporting Jake Shirk for El Paso County Sheriff.