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Duel at the GOP corral

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Incumbent House member Everett slammed by rival for performance in office

By Ramsey Scott

South Jeffco’s Republican representative in the state House has a challenger from his own party, and their rivalry is heating up well ahead of June’s primary election.

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First-term state Rep. Justin Everett is being challenged by Loren Bauman, his foe in the same race in 2012. This time, however, Bauman is ripping Everett for his performance at the Capitol. 

Bauman, a co-owner of Jared’s Nursery, Gift and Gardening Center on West Bowles Avenue, has taken issue with Everett’s attendance record. 

“He might believe in small government, and that’s fine. But no government is not acceptable,” Bauman said. 

While he has no issues with Everett’s politics or conservative credentials, Bauman is disturbed by what he calls shortcomings in the incumbent’s work ethic. 

“Having a state representative not be (at his job) is a big problem,” Bauman said.

Everett counters by saying that Bauman is hurting the GOP’s chances of holding on to the seat in the competitive district. 

“This actually is what jeopardizes our chances of taking back that seat, because I’m going to have to expend a lot of resources to fend off someone who may be able to self-finance because his mom turned over the business to him,” Everett said. “If Loren is truly concerned about us keeping the seat, he’ll drop out.” 

But Bauman said Everett’s absences, along with photos that have surfaced of Everett appearing to be asleep during a committee meeting, will make it hard for the Republican Party to retain control of District 22. 

“Especially for the district that we have — we have a fairly diverse group, and if you’re not there, you can’t represent us. You can’t put your vote on record.” 

So far during the 2014 legislative session, Everett has been absent without excuse 20 times and absent with an excuse eight times. He was temporarily removed last month from two of the three committees he sits on by the minority leadership.  

Everett said he’s never slept in a committee meeting and that the photo on “liberal blogs” shows him glancing down at his cellphone. Everett said that while he might have missed the roll calls, he was in attendance every day that Bauman claims he missed.  

“They said I’ve been absent 20 days, which is completely untrue,” Everett said. “I showed up work for those 20 days.”

Of the 20 times he missed roll call without an excuse, according to the House’s official journal, Everett was marked each time as being in attendance after roll was called. 

Everett also said his temporary removal from the two committees was a mutual decision between minority leadership and himself to let him deal with a personal matter. 

“If you can’t do your homework and find out the real reason and base your information off of Coloradopols, which is a left-leaning, at best, if not an extremely liberal, blog, is very concerning,” Everett said of Bauman.  

Everett’s Democratic opponent in 2012, Mary Parker, is also running again this year. 

Bauman said Everett’s performance in office will make the seat winnable for the Democrat. 

“Unfortunately, the information I have (on Everett’s absences) is the same information the Democrats have. It would be a huge upset if Democrats take this seat,” Bauman said. 

In the 2012 Republican primary in HD 22, Everett topped Bauman by about 30 percentage points. In the general election, Everett defeated Parker with 53 percent of the vote.  

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.