In his monthly local radio appearance Monday, Colorado State Rep. Rod Pelton (R-Cheyenne Wells) announced his intention to run for state Senate, after being drawn out of his current House district by the newly-submitted legislative districting maps pending approval by the Colorado Supreme Court.
Pelton laid out his political ambitions for show host John Waters on KFTM, saying that while he had previously hoped to inherit state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg’s District 1 seat in 2026, the new map presents an immediate opportunity to run for a vacant senate seat in District 35, the other of the two huge districts representing mostly Republican constituents and rural, agricultural interests on the Eastern Plains.
“I have always had plans,” said Pelton, “when Senator Sonnenberg [becomes] term-limited, I would run for Senate District 1. And if I’m going to make that move to the Senate, now is the time to do it because if they elect a senator, they’d probably be there eight years. And I only have four more that I could serve in the House. So that is my plan, is to run for Senate District 35.”
Pelton’s statement comes ahead of final approval of the district map, so he can’t formally and officially announce his candidacy. No other potential candidates have come forward to contend for that seat.
“I can’t come out and just ‘hard announce’ because, until the Supreme Court finalizes the map, I cannot get on TRACER [Colorado’s campaign disclosure website] and get signed up to be a candidate,” he explained.
While Pelton warned that the new House map portends a shift to Democratic control in districts representing the Eastern Plains, he relayed that the Senate map could favor Republicans capturing control of the state Senate after November’s election.
“There’s three districts right now out on the Eastern Plains in the new map, and every one of them runs up and touches the Front Range, which in my conspiracy theorist mind, [I] think that sometime in the future there could be all urban legislators representing the Eastern Plains, and that just won’t work. So, but that looks like the world we’re going to be going into with the new maps. Talking to some different people, they think the maps that are in front of the court right now will actually help Republicans gain some seats. There is even optimism that Republicans could take back the state Senate in 2022, which would be huge.”
Currently the House Minority Whip, Pelton was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2018 representing House District 65.
Redistricting caused the boundaries of that district to shift north and west to include all of Weld County, leaving Pelton ineligible to run again for that seat due his residency in Cheyenne County.
Most recently, Pelton has generated some controversy as an advocate for “choice” and bodily autonomy when it comes to vaccines and the fact that he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and instead self-prescribes an unproven treatment of Ivermectin.