Election

Republicans Win Douglas County Commissioner Races

Lora Thomas (top right) and George Teal (bottom left) won their commissioner races.
Lora Thomas (top right) and George Teal (bottom left) won their commissioner races. Douglas County
Continuing an electoral trend for Douglas County, Republicans won two seats on the Board of Commissioners in this solidly conservative section of metro Denver.

Current commissioner Lora Thomas kept her seat, fighting off Democrat Darien Wilson. George Teal, a Republican and current Castle Rock councilmember, defeated Democrat Lisa Neal-Graves, and will fill the spot left by term-limited commissioner Roger Partridge, also a Republican.

With Commissioner Abe Laydon continuing to serve (his seat was not up this year), the Douglas County Board of Commissioners will remain solidly Republican.

"I'm honored to have been elected to serve a second term as a Douglas County Commissioner. We were Blessed to have so many amazing volunteers who brought our message of Proven Leadership and Trusted Experience to the voters. I'm so very grateful Thank you!," Thomas tweeted just after midnight on November 4.

The fight between Thomas and Wilson had gotten heated on social media, with mudslinging targeting the July announcement by the commissioners that they'd withdraw the county from Tri-County Health Department oversight within the year.

Thomas and her colleagues were upset by the Tri-County Health Department Board of Health enacting a mask mandate for Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties, the three areas under the department's jurisdiction. The Board of Health's inclusion of Douglas County in the mandate actually went against the advice of Dr. John Douglas, executive director of the health department.

Wilson quickly began attacking Thomas for the move, characterizing it as foolhardy and reactionary. Thomas eventually toned down her rhetoric about wanting to leave the health department. Late last month, TCHD and Douglas County struck a tentative deal aimed at keeping the county in the department's fold through at least 2022, with the promise that county commissioners will be included in major policy discussions.

Teal and Neal-Graves had a less contentious race — but Teal had already sustained hits in the Republican primary, when he was accused of embellishing his military record. (A spokesperson for Teal denies that Teal ever misrepresented his record.)

In that same primary, Tony Spurlock, the sheriff of Douglas County, endorsed Teal's opponent, Clinton Dorris. Spurlock and Teal have had an acrimonious relationship in recent years; Teal even donated to the campaign to recall the sheriff over his support for Colorado's red-flag law. In the general election, Spurlock endorsed Neal-Graves.

But none of that affected the final outcome. Voters in Douglas County backed Republican candidates up and down the ballot, even though Trump's lead in the county was much smaller than in 2016.

In a tweet, Wilson thanked her supporters and added, "Even though we are disappointed tonight, remember: this is where the work is. And so it remains."
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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.