Records obtained by the Colorado Times Recorder show that the Pueblo Police Department was called to the home of Republican Senate Candidate Stephen Varela for an alleged domestic disturbance on the morning of Dec. 11, 2017.

According to Pueblo Police Department’s event report, Jackie Denney, Varela’s mother-in-law, called Pueblo Police after she “received a call from Kayla [Varela’s] phone and overheard Kayla and Stephen arguing. Jackie states she could overhear Stephen cursing at Kayla and states she heard things being thrown around and overheard Kayla telling Stephen to get off of her.”

The report notes that the responding officer did not observe any visible injuries, and that Kayla “denied anything physical occurring between she and Stephen.”

The report also notes, “Stephen was not cooperative, not allowing officers in residence and when [the responding officer] asked Kayla to speak with me outside to confirm everything was ok, he attempted to tell her to stay inside.”

Varela was not charged as a result of the incidence, but the 2017 incident isn’t Varela’s first run-in with law enforcement. On Jan. 20, 2007, while stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, Varela was arrested for disorderly conduct. He was also arrested in 2009 for a probation violation stemming from an incident that resulted in an additional arrest for aggravated battery. Further details about these incidents are not available.

According to the Riley County Police Department, “I can confirm that the [2009] arrest did occur and is labeled as 09-000808 in our software; however, since Stephen [Varela] completed the expungement process through the court system, this incident was removed from his record.”

When asked about these three incidents Thursday during a campaign event at the Pueblo Republican Party Headquarters with U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, Varela said, “I’ve never heard that in my whole life. This is the first time I’m hearing that.”

Varela also noted of the reports, which included his date of birth, “I know there’s a few Stephen Varelas out there.”

When provided with a copy of the Pueblo Police Department report, Varela declined further comment, saying in an email, “I’d be glad to answer questions from legitimate press outlets, but your organization appears to be a dark-money organization.”

The Colorado Times Recorder is a nonpartisan progressive news site funded by progressive donors.

Following publication of this story, Varela confirmed the 2007 arrest in an Oct. 29 Facebook video, but did not address the additional incidents. 

This is also not the first time Varela has attempted to distance himself from his past actions. According to a Sept. 9 campaign finance complaint filed by Pueblo County Democratic Party Chair Mary Beth Corsentino, Varela provided false information to the Secretary of State’s Office regarding a March 17 complaint filed by Republican operative Tammy Klein, who accused Varela of campaigning for Pueblo County Commissioner, and accepting donations, without first filing a candidate affidavit or committee.

According to the Secretary of State’s motion to dismiss the March complaint, Varela told them he “did not file a candidate affidavit or committee because [he] never decided to run [for] Pueblo County Commissioner.”

However, According to Corsentino’s complaint, “Notwithstanding Mr. Varela’s statements, a half-page ad — with no disclaimer — appeared in the March 2022 playbill for the Broadway Theatre League in Pueblo expressly advocating Mr. Varela’s election as a Pueblo County Commissioner. Please see attachment. The expenditure for this ad may be verified with the Theatre League.”

Varela told the Secretary of State’s Office he did not decide to run for Pueblo County Commissioner.

Varela also serves as the president of the board of directors for Chávez Huerta Preparatory Academy, a Pueblo Charter School. Varela’s tenure has been marked by repeated calls by staff members — including CHPA principal, Kim Sanchez — to resign following a series of unpopular personnel decisions involving longtime employees made by newly hired CEO, Hal Stevens. Stevens resigned last month and was replaced at an emergency board meeting on Sept. 17, where concerns about the school’s financial standing was raised by retired judge Dennis Maes. Board member Angela Giron, who served in the Colorado Senate as a Democrat from 2011 until she was recalled in 2013 due to her support of gun control legislation, confirmed, “There are some issues with the school.”

Varela is running against Sen. Nick Hinrichsen (D-Pueblo) for Pueblo’s Senate District 3 seat. Varela’s campaign received a boost from conservative activist group FEC United, which sent a text alert to members on Oct. 14 asking them to help “freedom candidates” Courtney Potter and Varela with canvassing and door-knocking. FEC United — which is affiliated with the militia group United American Defense Force — has recently sent communications to members attempting to organize ballot box parties, which would monitor ballot drop boxes for illegal activity. Critics say such activity is a form of voter intimidation. Concerns over “ballot mules” have been spread by Dinesh D’Souza’s debunked conspiracy film “2,000 Mules.”

FEC United has also been spreading flyers containing election misinformation, according to a recent report from KDVR. FEC United’s founder, Douglas County podcaster and gun store owner Joe Oltmann, was instrumental in the dissemination of conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems. Oltmann claimed he was present on an “Antifa conference call” where former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer claimed he made sure Donald Trump would lose the 2020 election. Oltmann has provided no proof that the call ever took place, and the judge ruling on Coomer’s defamation case against Oltmann and others has described Oltmann’s claims as “probably false” and his testimony during depositions as “evasive and not credible.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated on Oct. 31 to include Varela’s Facebook response to our reporting.