Most Western Colorado voters will have to wait through 20 more weeks of campaigning to vote in a congressional race. But a handful can vote now.
Registered Libertarians – there are just 140 of them in La Plata County – can vote in the June 26 primary between a humorist and an organic farmer, both of whom want to carry the party’s standard in the fall election.
Gregory Gilman is making his second run at the 3rd Congressional District. He was the Libertarian candidate in 2010. Gaylon Kent is the newcomer.
Both face the task of campaigning in one of the country’s largest districts.
“It’s pretty difficult as a Libertarian in a primary, because there’s not that many registered Libertarians across District 3,” Gilman said.
In fact, in May, there were just 1,433 registered Libertarians in the district – about one voter every 35 square miles.
Gilman has not put up a campaign website, and he isn’t doing much to campaign until after the primary is over. But he’s counting on name recognition he built during the last election.
“For me, it’s basically relying on the work I did in 2010,” Gilman said.
Gilman, 50, was born in Greeley. He studied electrical engineering and worked 20 years in research and development in California’s Silicon Valley.
He’s now practicing sustainable farming in Westcliffe, raising apples, peaches and tomatoes. He also harvests piñon nuts from the trees growing on his property.
“It’s not easy starting from scratch building up the farm,” he said. “It’s a work in progress.”
Gilman’s main issue is to cut back on deficit spending by Congress.
His opponent, Kent, 46, moved to Steamboat Springs last year from Las Vegas. He has had a diverse career that included hotel and casino security and sports officiating, and he was a U.S. Navy sailor aboard a submarine. He now works the front desk at a Steamboat hotel.
He is a writer. He has written three self-published books and writes several columns. His website – gaylonkent.com – bills him as “America’s foremost humorist.”
For Kent, all his political positions – from opposition to the Afghan war to abolition of the death penalty – stem from one premise.
“The purpose of government is to provide for the liberty of its citizens – I’m going to say that ad nauseam,” Kent said.
Both men support the Libertarian Party philosophy of small government and deference to individual liberties, including the right of same-sex couples to marry.
The winner will face incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, Democratic challenger Sal Pace, unaffiliated candidate Tisha Casida and write-ins Jaime McMillan and Dale Reed.
Most Libertarian voters in Southwest Colorado should receive a mail ballot. San Juan County’s 11 Libertarians can vote at the polling place June 26.