Local GOP official in running for vacant senate seat
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Shannon Stowe, the current vice chair of the Garfield County Republican Party and wife of former county commissioner Walt Stowe, is among the candidates to fill the vacant Colorado Senate District 8 seat.
The Republican District 8 Vacancy Committee will meet at 2 p.m. Monday at the Moffat County Courthouse in Craig to interview nominees and select a replacement for Sen. Al White, R-Hayden.
White resigned last week to accept the appointment by Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper to head the Colorado Tourism Office. White was completing the second year of a four-year term in the State Senate. His replacement will serve for the next two years before the seat will be up for election.
“I was called on by some people who felt that with my business background, and my background in the Republican Party, that I would be a good candidate,” Stowe said Thursday. “I feel I have something to offer our District 8, and I want to do what I can to serve.”
Stowe is president the family business Ace Roofing, and formerly owned SDS Mortgage in Glenwood Springs. She also co-owned the former Toy Nook store in downtown Glenwood prior to that.
In addition, she has been active in numerous human service and nonprofit organizations, including Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Mountain Communities, the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts and the Kiwanis Club.
Also in the running for the vacancy are White’s wife, Jean White of Hayden, and a former Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat, retired Col. Bob McConnell of Steamboat Springs.
A fourth candidate, Jeff Frye of Hayden, has also expressed an interest in being considered for the vacancy, said Philip Vaughan of Rifle, who is chairman of the Senate District 8 Republican Vacancy Committee.
The vacancy committee includes the Republican Party chairmen from the six counties in the district, including Milt Blakey from Garfield County, Randy Milhoan from Eagle County, David Smith from Rio Blanco County, former state Sen. Jack Taylor from Routt County and Dick Snabely from Jackson County.
The remaining three members are Vaughan, along with Audrey Danner, a party official from Craig, and Jean White, who is expected to recuse herself from the selection process as she is one of the nominees.
Vaughan said other nominees could come forward prior to Monday’s committee meeting, or at the meeting itself, which is open to the public.
“We run it just like a normal Republican assembly, with a draft agenda, establishment of a quorum, committee reports and presentation of the rules,” he said.
The candidates will then be nominated and given a time for introductions, followed by individual question-and-answer sessions, Vaughan explained.
It’s possible the selection process could continue more than one day, although the goal is to make a decision by Monday, he said.
The Colorado General Assembly 2011 session is scheduled to begin Jan. 12.
Although the selection of a replacement is an internal party process, McConnell has made his campaign for the office public and asked supporters to contact the vacancy committee members.
“I would like to serve the people of Colorado,” McConnell, who lost the Republican primary for the Third Congressional nomination to Scott Tipton in August, said in a prepared statement. Tipton went on to defeat Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. John Salazar.
“More than ever, we need a solid conservative in the state senate, because the Senate is run by a Democrat majority,” said McConnell, who had been a tea party favorite for the Congressional nomination.
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