Bud Demicell, who will remain a candidate for Rifle, Colorado, City Council despite documentation disputing his affidavit — signed under the penalty of perjury — that he met residency requirements, has posted misinformed and Islamophobic content on Facebook in which he challenges the legitimacy of Muslims to hold elected office in the United States.
Demicell is a manager at U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) restaurant, Shooters Grill, in Rifle.
In April of 2019, Demicell posted two memes on his Facebook page in which he broadly correlates the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, with an agenda shared by Muslim elected officials, and insinuates his belief that Muslims should be barred from holding elected office.
“Instead of being Burned to Death, many Americans Chose to Jump; 2996 died. Now we have these Musliums Holding Political Offices and Openly Say what their agenda is,” reads the meme shared by Demicell.
In his post, Demicell does not articulate what that agenda might be specifically, nor does he specify which elected Muslims, who are referred to as “Evil People,” are pursuing that “agenda.”
Demicell calls out other federal lawmakers by name, however, for having voted to repeal the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, eleven years prior to 9-11, falsely contending that the repeal changed U.S. law to allow Muslim to run for political office.
According to FactCheck.org, Demicell’s social media meme falsely characterizes the McCarran Warner Act, which formalized immigration policies into law. The McCarran-Walter Act does not address any religious parameters for candidates.
FactCheck.org states: “In fact, nowhere in the law is there a mention of religious standards for those seeking public office, including Muslims.Such a ban would contravene the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.”
Similar posts — now thoroughly debunked — circulated following the 2018 elections of Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who joined Keith Ellison (D-MN) and André Carson (D-IN) as Muslim members of Congress.
Demicell’s interest in candidacy requirements back in 2019 is pertinent today, now that his own eligibility for candidacy as a Rifle City Council member has been challenged.
Previous reporting by this outlet and Salon documented Demicell as failing to meet residency requirements to run for municipal office in Rifle, Colorado. According to Facebook posts from last year by Demicell and his wife, he failed to hold residency for a year prior to his November 3, 2021, election as required by Rifle’s city code.
An inquiry to Rifle City Manager Tommy Klein as to Demicell’s compliance with residency requirements elicited the following response, indicating that any potential challenge to Demicell’s candidacy has exceeded the 5-day deadline to do so, leaving him on this year’s ballot.
The City Clerk accepts applications from members of our community that wish to run for a seat on Council. As part of this process, the potential candidates sign an affidavit under the penalty of perjury indicating:
1. They are a citizen of the United States, [and] 2. They have lived in Rifle for one year prior to the election.
Under our current code and state statutes, the City does not have authority to investigate candidates beyond assuring that signatures they present to the Clerk on the nomination petition are verifiable. We ensure they file the appropriate paperwork with the Clerk in a timely fashion and that they sign the corresponding affidavits evidencing their eligibility. The Colorado Revised Statutes designate how and when a citizen can challenge the qualifications of a candidate, which would be in front of a court that is equipped to hear such a contest. The City does not have standing to file such a contest, only a registered elector of Rifle has that standing.
Colorado state statute confirms that “the qualification of any candidate may be challenged by an eligible le elector of the political subdivision within five days after the designated election official’s statement is issued that certifies the candidate to the ballot.”
By that criteria, the deadline would have been back in August or the first part of Sept for a Rifle voter to go before a district judge to question the candidates’ legitimacy.
As originally reported by Zachary Petrizzo in Salon, the Demicells have verified associations with QAnon, a group which traffics in debunked and discredited conspiracy theories. They have also promoted social media posts supportive of the anti-government militia group, the III%ers (Three Percenters). Salon also was the first to report on social media posts by the Demicells which appear to show Bud Demicell’s noncompliance with Rifle’s residency requirements for city council candidates.
CORRECTION (10/26/2021): This post has been updated to more accurately reflect Demicell’s social media activity with these two posts. While he did share the two memes separately on his Facebook page, there is no record of any comments on the posts by Demicell.