Karl Dent, who registered last year as a candidate in the running for El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder’s position in the 2022 election, withdrew from the race Wednesday and filed a campaign to represent Colorado House of Representatives District 21 instead.
Dent said the reasons for his decision to “step away gracefully” from the race included the ongoing issues he’s facing in overturning a felony conviction of trespassing, for which he was sentenced to probation in October.
“I do have a felony pending out there, so I wouldn't be able to get POST-certified, I wouldn't be able to pass the CBI background check, and so that would have disqualified me from the sheriff’s race after the nomination,” he told The Gazette in an interview. “That was one of the reasons to just step away gracefully.”
Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) records indicate he is not currently certified. Dent previously told The Gazette an appeal in his trespassing case was recently filed, and was currently under consideration in the state’s appellate court.
"I might be a convicted felon today, but I didn't do anything wrong to be a convicted felon," he said.
Another important reason for withdrawing, Dent said, was because while collecting signatures for the sheriff race, he’d heard from several Coloradans living in District 21 who encouraged him to run to represent them based on his qualifications and "everything that was going on.” He's lived in that district, he said, since 2016.
“I'm currently a 100% service-connected disabled veteran. So I understand what's going on with the military community, I understand what's going on with the veterans, and understand what's going on with the spouses and what we need to fix,” he said. “Also being a small business owner, I got a little bit of background with the economy, what it takes to create jobs and what it takes to write a paycheck.”
The district, currently represented by Republican Mary Bradfield, includes Fort Carson, Fountain and Security-Widefield. Dent, also a Republican, is the founder of Rocky Mountain Protection Service Inc., according to its website, a local security company.
According to Transparency in Contribution and Expenditure Reporting (TRACER) records, Dent terminated his candidate status with the Colorado Secretary of State on Wednesday, also the day he filed to create a committee for the House race.
Court records indicate he has two misdemeanor cases pending in El Paso County, one involving alleged parole violations and another involving an alleged misdemeanor animal cruelty charge from December. He pleaded not guilty to the first case in August, and hasn’t made a plea in the second, according to court records.
"I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm the one they charged with the crime," he said.