Longtime Boulder County Republican activist Marty Neilson will be working to convince Democrats, minor-party members and unaffiliated voters that “it’s time for a change” in the Legislature in general and state Senate District 16 in particular.
Neilson, a real estate agent, was the apparent primary-election victor in a GOP contest with telecommunications engineer Barry Thoma.
Republican voters appear to have picked Neilson to advance to the general election campaign against one of the Legislature’s top Democrats, Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald of Jefferson County.
With 61 of 94 precincts in the multi-county Senate district reporting at press time Tuesday night, Neilson had 61 percent of the vote to Thoma’s 39 percent, the Associated Press reported.
“It’s been rewarding,” Neilson said of her primary campaign effort.
“I’ve met lots of wonderful people, gotten lots of good support, and I believe if I maintain the win here, more support will be forthcoming,” she said.
Senate District 16 includes all of Gilpin, Clear Creek, Grand and Summit counties and part of Jefferson County and western Boulder County.
Also seeking the seat is Kittredge’s Tim Leonard, a member of the American Constitution Party who will join Neilson and Fitz-Gerald on the general-election ballot.
Neilson attributed Tuesday’s victory to “my background in the party and my activism in the party and my leadership in the party.”
A rural Boulder County resident who lives in the South St. Vrain Canyon area near Lyons, Neilson has been a registered GOP voter in Boulder County since 1965.
She is a former Boulder County Republican chairwoman, past president of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women and a member of the state, county and national federations of Republican Women. She has been a delegate or alternate to the past two national GOP conventions.
For the general-election campaign, Neilson said Tuesday, “I have to raise a lot of money, I suppose. These races seem to be about money.”
Even so, she said, “One of the best ways to get the message out in this district is direct mail and face-to-face appearances.”
Neilson said she’ll be emphasizing issues such as the need to rein in government spending, to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, and to stamp out illegal immigration.
John Fryar can be reached by e-mail at