Stephens challenger talks primary bid



Gar Graham
  • Gar Graham

Grassroots Radio co-host Ken Clark makes no secret his feelings for House Majority Leader Amy Stephens.

In last night's show, Clark picked on a point we made yesterday in the wake of Gar Graham's announcement that he was running for the state House in the 20th District: The maps that define the 20th's boundaries are very much in flux, and while Graham's announcement was pointed in his intent to topple Stephens, the 20th is her district as of now. Depending on how the state Supreme Court rules on the proposed reapportionment maps that it has before it, that could change.

In fact, the proposed maps move Stephens' neighborhood out of the 20th and plop her and her neighbors down on the edge of House District 19, which has as its incumbent Rep. Marsha Looper.

This is where it gets interesting.

Of course, if the court rejects the maps, or tweaks them itself, Stephens could remain in her district, and Graham can carry on with his one-on-one primary challenge. If the Democrats' maps hold — and we anticipate a court decision next week — then Stephens will no longer be in 20. That district will then belong to another Republican incumbent, Rep. Bob Gardner.

So without saying as much in his press release, Graham has added his name to the craziness that could become District 19.

This doesn't sit well with Clark, who apparently appreciates Looper's work in Denver almost as much as he dislikes Stephens' record.

So Clark brought it up:

"Gar, I'm gonna ask you one final question," Clark asked, "because this is something that concerns me personally. If you are thrust into District 19, and it looks like we are going to have a three-way race — Gar, Amy, and Marsha Looper — what are you gonna do then?"

"If, in fact, it turns into a 19-20 blend," Graham began, "and we have three candidates, my first order of business, my first priority is to sit down with Marsha and discuss, 'How are we going to make sure Amy doesn't go back to Denver?' That's No. 1. No. 2, then I want to pay a little bit of attention to Rep. Looper's record. I really haven't studied it; I don't know much about the lady. And No. 3, I'm gonna make sure we pay attention to what the voters want. Now there's a fair amount of anti-incumbent feeling right now, and I think that's because a lot of our problems are from the people who are in there. ..."

"I gotta tell you, I was really looking forward to the toe-to-toe battle between Rep. Looper and Rep. Stephens," Clark responded, "because I do know Rep. Looper very, very well; she is rock solid. ... So, Gar, I would ask that you study that very, very hard. The worst thing, I think, that could happen is that we end up with a three-way race and Amy gets put back in there."

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