Newly appointed State Rep. Judy Reyher (R-Swink) has drawn a primary challenge from fellow Republican Don Bendell, as reported first by Peter Roper of the Pueblo Chieftain.
Asked why he’s challenging Reyher, Bendell said:
“I had been asked by a few people privately to get involved because they felt like there had been a few mistakes made that are going to be used by the Democrats against us,” Bendell said. “And we can’t lose that seat. And they felt like I would have a better chance to beat the liberal they are running from Pueblo in the general election.”
Bendell launched his campaign by making mistakes of his own, however, telling potential donors on Facebook that they “can donate privately and confidentially” and that such donations would be “tax-deductible.”
He removed the erroneous information from his Facebook page, and expressed gratitude to those who pointed it out. Donations to candidates are neither private nor tax-deductible.
Bendell declined to name the people who privately encouraged him to run against Reyher.
Neither did Bendell specify the mistakes he thinks Reyher has made.
A trail of Facebook posts and comments immediately engulfed Reyher in controversy when she was appointed to the state house last year.
Reyher told The Denver Post, for example, in November that black people “hate white people with a passion.” The Post questioned her after reviewing her Facebook feed which had posts like these and these, first reported by this blog. Reyher issued a partial apology to The Post.
“I welcome any challenger,” Reyher said Wednesday.
“My opponent has already asked me to step out, which I don’t intend to do,” said Reyher.
“I thought to myself, ‘Doesn’t everyone want to tell their challenger to take a walk?'” Reyher said. “You know? It kind of took me by surprise. I just said, ‘I’m not going anywhere. I’m in it to win it. I’ve got the experience the seat calls for.'”
“I’m not here to trash her,” Bendell said. “She’s a very nice person. In fact, she and I have been Facebook friends for a long time.
“She may not like me, but I like her,” Bendell said, referring to Reyher. “I think she’s a nice person. I have nothing against her whatsoever. I’m not here to talk about her. I’m here to talk about me.”
Bendell said he never wanted to run for political office before, although he’s been involved in politics for years, having “hosted” rallies for Donald Trump and Eric Trump prior to the last election.
A Republican vacancy committee, in a close vote, appointed Reyher last year to the state house seat after Clarice Navarro, who won re-election in 2016, resigned to work for the Trump Administration.
The winner of the GOP primary race between Reyher and Bendell will take on the Democratic nominee for the seat in the November election.