Former state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a conservative firebrand, said Friday he hasn’t given up on politics despite a recent defeat.
The Colorado Springs Republican said he will seek the District 2 seat on the five-member El Paso County commission on Nov. 5. District 2 encompasses much of eastern Colorado Springs up to the edge of northeastern El Paso County.
“We need conservative leadership in our county to keep El Paso County free from the oppression that is coming from state government,” Klingenschmitt said.
He ran unsuccessfully this year for an at-large seat on the Colorado Springs City Council, finishing fourth behind the three candidates.
He said the close loss encouraged him to run for the county commission.
Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain and internet televangelist, hasn’t held public office since 2017, when he finished one term in Colorado House District 15 on Colorado Springs’ east side. He lost a 2016 bid for a state Senate seat in District 12, won by Republican Bob Gardner.
Klingenschmitt hosts a talk show called "Pray In Jesus’ Name."
He is no stranger to controversy. While in the Statehouse, he accused then-President Barack Obama of being possessed by demons and claimed then-U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who is gay, wanted to “join ISIS in beheading Christians.” He later rescinded that remark and said it wasn’t meant seriously.
As commissioner, Klingenschmitt said, he would prioritize lowering sales taxes, improving road maintenance, protecting “constitutional liberties” and prioritizing “religious conservative” issues.
“The Democrats are coming after El Paso County, and we need strong leadership to keep our county red,” he said.
When he ran for the City Council, Klingenschmitt said he would eliminate the $6,250 stipend that council members receive. He said commissioners' $120,485 annual salary, which is set by the state, should be cut, and all county employees should have their salaries cut because they make far more than the median income of a Colorado Springs resident.
Klingenschmitt is running to replace Mark Waller, who is running for the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office. Waller was elected to the commission in 2016.
“In a county race, the district is far more conservative than the city,” Klingenschmitt said. “And I’m probably the best fit for the district. I think this is winnable, and I plan to win,” he paused, then added, “if the voters support me.”
Carrie Geitner, wife of Republican state Rep. Tim Geitner, also is running for the District 2 seat.
She’s a former high school teacher who runs a T-shirt and embroidery business. She has worked as a political consultant for Colorado Springs candidates and is trying to help start a charter school in District 49 in Falcon.