Republican Don Bendell of Florence, who hopes to win a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives in November, failed to pay child support for more than a decade for the three children from his first marriage, according to Tuesday’s Pueblo Chieftain.
According to Bendell’s three children, now adults, he didn’t pay child support for close to 17 years and only started paying it after his children reached adulthood.
The Chieftain reported that Bendell said it took him 20 years to pay back the child support plus interest, a debt he started paying in 1997, meaning he completed the payback last year.
At one point there was even a North Carolina warrant out for Bendell’s arrest for nonpayment, which Bendell acknowledged, according to the Chieftain. He said the courts were “stacked against him.”
Bendell defeated House incumbent Rep. Judy Reyher of Swink in the June 26 primary for the district that covers Fremont and Otero counties, as well as the rural portion of Pueblo County. He will face Democratic candidate Brianna Buentello in November.
He’s not the first House candidate to run into problems with family support recently.
Rep. Tim Leonard, an Evergreen Republican, tried to persuade a Jefferson County judge that he couldn’t pay court-ordered support because he’s too busy as a full-time lawmaker to continue his work as a commercial real estate broker. The judge rejected that argument, stating that Leonard voluntarily chose to be underemployed. Leonard will face Democrat Lisa Cutter in November.