Friday, July 6, 2012

Chostner, the New Boss of Pueblo County – Pueblo Democrats Take Their Politics Seriously

Most Colorado Democrats sat out the June 26 primary, but 40 percent of Pueblo party regulars poured out and removed a seated District Attorney, Bill Thiebaut, and County Commissioner, John Cordova.

Thiebaut is an interesting case.  Eight years ago, desiring to secure a job after a long legislative career and a failed Lt. Governor race in one of the doomed Rollie Heath campaigns, Thiebaut beat longtime Democratic incumbent DA Gus Sandstrom in the party convention.  Sandstrom didn’t contest the decision in the party primary, but there was long-term bad blood.

Thiebaut, with no prosecutorial background and liberal instincts, lost some high-profile cases and busied himself with Democratic city politics and environmental causes.  His formidable opponent was County Commissioner and former Air Force JAG attorney, Jeff Chostner, fresh from a November 2010 countywide re-election.

Interesting, Thiebaut’s office manager, a former County Attorney and County Democratic Chair, Terry Hart, won the open commissioner seat.  Popular former Pueblo West legislator Buffie McFadyen soundly beat Cordova, whose term was punctuated by a number of controversies and who had won office after a bitter primary four years ago.

A lot of new faces and good news for Pueblo West, the second largest concentration of voters in the county.  McFadyen is a former representative and Chostner was often picking fights.

November should not produce any surprises, although the Republican Party have candidates in both commissioner seats.  Pueblo just has a lot of Democrats.  Sal Pace got 14,800 as an unopposed Democratic congressional candidate and Scott Tipton, the Republican incumbent, attracted only 6,500.