Rifle council candidate may not meet residency requirement
Rifle City Council candidate Bud Demicell might not meet the residency requirement to run for the office, based on claims that he didn’t move to Rifle until late November 2020.
However, the matter may need to be contested in district court to disqualify him from taking office, if he wins election on Tuesday.
Demicell is one of eight candidates vying for five seats on Rifle City Council in balloting that continues through next Tuesday.
City Manager Tommy Klein confirmed that several residents have alerted city election officials to social media posts by Demicell’s wife, Mona, indicating that they did not move to Rifle from Pueblo until late November of last year.
Evidence forwarded to the city also suggests they didn’t establish permanent residence until January or February 2021.
The Demicells were active in Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert’s 2020 election campaign prior to coming to Rifle as Boebert prepared to take office in January.
Rifle city code requires that, to be eligible to run for council, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen and must have resided in the city for one full year prior to the election — in this case, since Nov. 2, 2020.
Demicell did not return a phone message seeking comment on the matter.
Demicell is vying for one of five City Council seats along with incumbents Clint Hostettler, Sean Strode and Joe Carpenter, and first-time candidates Chris Bornholdt, Derek Davis, Tamara Degler and Alicia Gresley.
The four candidates receiving the highest number of votes once balloting concludes are to be elected to four-year terms on council. The candidate receiving the fifth-highest votes will take a two-year term.
Klein said candidates are required to sign an affidavit stating they meet the residency and other requirements, under penalty of perjury.
“Candidates file the paperwork with us and turn in a petition with the required number of verifiable signatures,” Klein explained. “The (city) clerk verifies that the signatures are valid before they can be on the ballot.”
However, the city does not check a candidate’s validity regarding residency and other requirements, unless a formal challenge is filed. Per Colorado law, “a citizen would need to file a civil remedy through the courts,” Klein said
Klein confirmed that the city has received emails from residents pointing to social media posts pinpointing their arrival in mid-November 2020 at the earliest. One Nov. 17, 2020, post by Mona Demicell cited by a complainant, which was also forwarded to the Post Independent, indicates they were looking for a place to live in Rifle ahead of their move.
Klein said that if a candidate or newly sworn-in council member is determined to have not met a requirement of candidacy, the rest of the council can remove that person and appoint a replacement.
Meanwhile, as of Monday, over 400 voters had cast ballots from within Rifle city limits, out of 5,191 ballots that were mailed out to eligible voters on Oct. 8, Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico said.
The county is conducting the coordinated countywide election this fall, including the Rifle City Council election, school board elections in three school districts and various local ballot initiatives.
Also recently, Rifle council candidates turned in their required campaign financial disclosures on Oct. 12.
The reports show Demicell spent $1,158 out of pocket on his campaign during the first filing period. Two other candidates reported spending money in the campaign during that period — Alicia Gresley, $158.14, and Tamara Degler, $310.78.
None of the candidates for council reported taking any campaign contributions during the first filing period.
A second financial filing deadline is coming up Friday with another due after the election.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or email@example.com.
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