Libertarian candidate joins race for Boulder County commissioner

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Jul. 19—Louisville Mayor Ashley Stolzmann, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Boulder County Commissioner, looks set to face off against Libertarian candidate Bo Shaffer in November after an unaffiliated candidate, Andrew O'Connor, failed to petition onto the ballot.

Nominated by his party in May, Shaffer only publicly announced his candidacy earlier this month.

"I don't know that I'm going to win, but I'd like there to be at least another voice in Boulder County," Shaffer said Monday evening.

Stolzmann narrowly defeated Elaina Shively by just 68 votes in the primary. The final results are pending an automatic recount that was triggered by the narrow margin.

On Monday, Stolzmann said she was honored and appreciated the clerk's efforts in conducting the recount.

Of the fifty signature sections required to complete the nomination petition, O'Connor turned in 26, according to the Statement of Insufficiency released by the clerk's office Monday afternoon. Each section allows up to twenty signatures to be recorded, meaning O'Connor only filed .

On July 12, O'Connor requested an extension from the clerk's office to get the required 1,000 signatures by the July 14 deadline.

In an email at the time, O'Connor said the 1,000 signatures "and the short time frame to collect them are extremely burdensome and constitute an almost insurmountable barrier to ballot access for unaffiliated candidates like myself."

The clerk's office denied his request for an extension, explaining that according to state law, "the Clerk has no authority to change this statutory deadline."

According to the Boulder County candidate election guide, candidate petition signature requirements for an unaffiliated candidate are whichever is less: 1,000 signatures or 2% of votes cast based upon previous general election. The guide specifies the requirement for 2022 the county commissioner is 1,000 signatures. Two percent of votes cast in the 2018 general election is 3,368.

"I feel like it's (the people of Boulder County's) loss," O'Connor said after being notified of the insufficiency Monday.

O'Connor, a Lafayette resident, signed an affidavit declaring his candidacy for county commissioner on Jan. 24, 2022, which gave him approximately 172 days to collect signatures, or gathering about six signatures a day since he declared his candidacy to the July 14 deadline.

Shaffer, who described himself as a philosophical libertarian, said he favors a less-is-more government.

"You need to get off the government teat," Shaffer said. "If you really want things to work well, and want them to be right, you have to get out there and do it yourself. It might be tough at first but in the end it's going to be better for everybody."