UPDATE: New king-maker group formed

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Learn how to be a good GOP candidate from newly formed company. - MARA 1
  • Mara 1
  • Learn how to be a good GOP candidate from newly formed company.
UPDATE:  El Paso County Republican Party executive director Danny Cole reports that Jeff Hays is no longer involved in that effort.
——ORIGINAL POST WED., NOV. 19, 2014 2:29 P.M.———

A group of Republicans in Colorado Springs has formed a for-profit organization to evaluate, develop and train candidates to "run and win with integrity," says one of its members, and the mayoral candidates in Colorado Springs are among those that will be evaluated.

It's sort of odd that Republicans think they need to shape winners, when most office holders from El Paso County are Republicans. A Democrat, in fact, is rare. There hasn't been a Dem seated as a county commissioner here, for example, since the 1970s.

Anyway, here are the players: former Congressional District 5 candidate Robert Blaha; El Paso County GOP Chair Jeff Hays; political operative and lobbyist Steve Durham; Pastor Mark Cowart, who's been known to campaign from the pulpit; political consultant Patrick Davis, and another former CD 5 candidate, Jeff Crank, who hosts a radio program.

Davis explains via email that Candidates Plus LLC will "evaluate, develop and train candidates for public office who could run and win with integrity." Blaha is the registered agent for the LLC, which formed in May, according to Secretary of State records.

Although Candidates Plus isn't currently charging for services, it will eventually, Davis says. Services will include evaluations of candidates, consulting, training and "research products."

"Additionally we intend to offer stakeholder organizations a seat on the evaluation panel for a price but that is not the case in Colorado Springs," Davis says. "Panel members will be volunteers selected from the community. We will train the volunteers in our evaluation methods. Founding members will not participate in the Mayoral candidate evaluations to avoid conflicts of interest."

The LLC issued this notice this afternoon, seeking volunteers to assess mayoral candidates.
In an effort to maintain transparency and objectivity Candidates Plus announced its intention to accept applicants from the Colorado Springs community at large to evaluate candidates for Mayor of Colorado Springs.

A panel of six to eight evaluators will be selected to represent stakeholder groups such as tax payers, business, military, healthcare, travel and hospitality, city employees, utility rate payers, non-profits, the faith community, education, real estate development, minority communities and young professionals.

Community evaluators will interview Mayoral candidates and score them in six categories:

· Networking ability
· Employment and positions of responsibility
· Character and personal/financial/legal history
· Intellectual capabilities and communications skills
· Political experience and plan
· Political philosophy and Positions
Following the interview and scoring process Candidates Plus will publish the Mayoral candidate’s scores online for all voters to see along with a narrative supporting the scores. Candidates will receive a written evaluation and a development plan following the interviews.

Colorado Springs Community members wishing to apply should contact Patrick Davis at 719-536-9809 or by email at PatrickDavis86@yahoo.com before December 1.

Candidate interviews will be conducted in January and grades will be published in early spring, 2015.

Patrick Davis said, “Candidates who have submitted themselves to the Candidates Plus process have improved as candidates and as elected officials. It is our hope that through this process our next election for Mayor will present to voters highly qualified candidates from which to choose. Colorado Springs voters deserve highly qualified candidates and leaders who will campaign and govern with integrity and competency.”

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