John Ponikvar: Process not flawed
January 30, 2011
As a member of the Colorado Senate District 8 Vacancy Committee, I have to say that I am extremely happy with the process that was used to replace former state Sen. Al White. The steps taken to provide transparency by Chairman Phil Vaughan and Secretary Audrey Danner were well thought out.
Out of the 35 votes cast during the five ballots, my vote on the first ballot was the only one that Bob McConnell received in the whole process. I cast that vote because of input I received from a number of Moffat County and Routt County citizens. After seeing that Bob did not have any other support, I changed my vote to the person who I felt could best represent the district and be immediately effective during this 68th General Assembly. That person was Jean White.
The original rules called for an initial vote, and if there was no majority winner, then the committee would vote between only the top two vote-getters. Input from state Republican Party counsel encouraged changing that rule to require voting until a majority was received by one candidate. No one would be eliminated unless they took themselves out. This would allow a compromise candidate from the entire field to more forward. That is exactly what happened; Jean White was that compromise candidate.
I am not sure how or why Bob McConnell felt that the fix was in and the process flawed. He was one of five who didn't receive the required votes needed that evening. During Bob's campaign for this position, he encouraged supporters from not only Senate District 8, but also from the state and across the country to contact vacancy committee members regarding his campaign and worthiness. He also reminded supporters to let committee members know that they would be up for election as party chairs in their respective counties soon and that Bob's supporters would be involved in that process. I myself welcomed and answered more than 100 e-mails received on Bob's behalf, even though some of the messages were very indignant. I personally felt that Bob was running a campaign of intimidation, not one of honor.
During the proceedings, Bob McConnell struggled to articulate his status as a "recovering lawyer." Although I have not visited with other members of the committee, I also expect that Bob's viewpoint on encouraging "civil disobedience" to the very government he aspired to, did not help his cause. I sincerely think that Bob would have been content with the process had he won the seat. His message at this time is not one of encouraging transparency, but one of furthering his goal to intimidate and influence a positive outcome for himself. We do not need political representatives that try to boost their egos by bullying others. Bob now wants to change the rules of the sandbox he chose to stop playing in.
I am proud of my votes on the vacancy committee, proud of the process, proud of the conduct of the other committee members, and I am very confident that Sen. Jean White will represent Senate District 8 in an exemplary manner.
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Senate District 8 Vacancy Committee member and chairman of the Moffat County Republican Central Committee