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Colorado Gaffe-Fest Isn’t Confined To Hickenlooper

Colorado’s local races aren’t getting much attention thanks to Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s reelection fights, but they feature some colorful candidates.

In fact, candidates on some down-ticket races are making headlines in ways that they might regret.

Most notably there’s the candidate who warned voters that Democratic Rep. Jared Polis wanted to follow in the footsteps of ISIS terrorists and behead Americans,

La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard, a Republican, is awkwardly trying to defend an email he sent in the spring, complaining that local government has been taken over by “liberal, democratic, gun hating, pot loving, abortionist, Obama supporting socialist[s].”

The Durango Herald reported that the email was sent from Schirard’s government issued computer and his work email address. He’d been replying to a constituent who wrote with concerns that a downtown gun club might lose its city-subsidized rent if it didn’t stop requiring members to join the National Rifle Association.

Schirard apparently hit “reply all,” sending his response not only to the original emailer but two others copied on the message — his undersheriff and his political opponent, Democrat Sean Smith, a sheriff’s deputy.

Smith said he held onto the email, debating whether or not to use it in his campaign.

“But the public has a right to know what Schirard thinks, particularly people in the city of Durango,” he told the Herald. “I even told the sheriff to his face last week that I intended to use it.”

Schirard doesn’t deny authoring the email, in which he also told the constituent that because of demographic changes in Durango he doesn’t even want to go downtown any more.

“We are disgusted and as upset with the situation as you or anyone else [sic],” he wrote, adding that city leaders want to turn Durango into “Aspen south.” Aspen is generally considered to be politically and socially liberal.

Although he regretted that the email has become public, and admitted he might have been “a little harsh” in describing Durango’s electorate, Schirard didn’t back down from his views.

“I was describing my political philosophy and feelings,” he told the Herald. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that I’m a very politically conservative person.”

In a debate between candidates for Pueblo County Commissioner, meanwhile, Republican challenger Tom Ready defended a Facebook post in which he questioned whether the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax.

His opponent, incumbent Democrat Sal Pace, brought up the post when Ready blamed him for raising utility rates.

“A couple weeks ago, I was disturbed by a link you posted on your Facebook page of an article claiming that the Newtown Sandy Hook school shooting is a hoax perpetrated by the federal government to advance a gun-control agenda,” Pace said, according to an article in Westword.

Ready admitted he had questions about whether the shooting really happened.

“To the question of whether it really happened, Sal, some of the people in the videos … If you recall, there was a picture of a man walking in whose daughter had died,” he said over a chorus of boos. “He was smiling and joking. When he walked into the room, he turned, and all of a sudden had tears in his eyes. Why? I question that.”

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