Older, wiser Newitt back as political candidate
Zane Newitt, who made a bid for the Republican nomination as a 20-year-old in the 1996 Garfield County commissioner primary, has joined the Constitution Party and intends to run for a statehouse seat in the 57th District.
“Being a third-party candidate will be an adventure for me,” said Newitt, who lives in Rifle and graduated from Rifle High School.
Newitt will face Republican incumbent Al White of Winter Park and Democratic challenger Terry Carwile of Craig.
Newitt said that in 1996 he was “young, naive and probably a little arrogant” when he was defeated in the Garfield County primary.
Since then, Newitt has earned a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from the Delaware-based Trinity College, and is to be awarded a doctorate in theology from Slidell Baptist Seminary in Louisiana in June. Those degrees were earned over the Internet and through distance learning programs.
Newitt said that due to his conservative values, he didn’t attend college right out of high school because he didn’t agree with college-level teachers.
“If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably go to college straight from high school,” said Newitt, who is patient finance services director for Aspen Valley Hospital.
Newitt said the Constitution and Republican parties share many of the same views, but the Constitution Party has more passion about its beliefs. He said Republicans court supporters for their votes, then “politically betray” those same individuals.
He compared the Constitution Party’s relationship to Republicans with the Green Party’s relationship with Democrats.
“It’s the flip side of the same coin,” Newitt said.
Newitt said the Constitution Party’s executive committee approached him to run during the party convention in April.
“I’ll be the first candidate (for them) on the Western Slope,” Newitt said.
The Preamble for the Constitution Party states, “We, the members of the Constitution Party, gratefully acknowledge the blessing of the Lord God as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of this Nation. We solemnly declare that the foundation of our political position and moving principle of our political activity is our full submission and unshakable faith in our Savior and Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Divine Providence as we work to restore and preserve this Nation as a government of the People, by the People, and for the People,” according to the party’s website.
Newitt said one of his concerns in the post-Sept. 11 world is the possibility that individual rights could be restricted due to the war on terrorism.
“Laws are being passed about personal freedom,” Newitt said. “We need to take a slow look at them … we need to be watchful over civil liberties.”
Newitt said the current political climate in the United States isn’t one of conservatives versus liberals, but rather is one of the establishment versus the anti-establishment.
“The elite have taken over both parties … the problem is the leadership. I expect a lot of crossover votes,” Newitt said.
“I have an opportunity to win,” he added. “If I knock on more doors than they do, I have a chance to win.”
The 57th District includes Rifle, and all of Garfield County to the west, a tiny part of Silt, plus all or parts of Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties.
Newitt and his wife, Ami, have a 2-year-old son, Avery.
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