Former Rep. B.J. Nikkel will not run for Gardner’s seat

Politics

Former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, has decided not to run for the soon-to-be-vacant Fourth Congressional District.

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DENVER — Former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel has decided not to run for the Fourth Congressional District seat being vacated by Congressman Cory Gardner, who decided late last month to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, FOX31 Denver has confirmed.

Nikkel, R-Loveland, was the first Republican lawmaker to cast a vote in support of civil unions legislation in 2012 and focused on criminal justice reform issues at the Capitol.

She told FOX31 Denver that she’ll support Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer in the primary battle for the GOP nomination in the Fourth.

“She not only wears high heels, but also cowboy boots,” Nikkel said, in a less than subtle dig at Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, likely the front-runner in the primary for Gardner’s seat whose comment about a former rival’s “high heels” cost him dearly with women voters in his 2010 U.S. Senate race defeat.

Sstate Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, and businessman Steve Laffey are also running.

Former statehouse Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, confirmed Sunday that he’s not going to run, after considering the race for a week.

Nikkel, who could have self-financed a campaign at the get-go and was likely to draw support from more moderate national conservative organizations, seriously considered a run.

“I did see a path through the primary,” Nikkel said. “But, ultimately, the fire in the belly just isn’t there. I love Colorado and just can’t imagine having to work and live in the current political climate in Washington, DC.

“But there is an appetite out there among people in the party to see an alternative candidate for this seat,” Nikkel told FOX31 Denver. “I think Barb will fill that void.”

Nikkel will likely be involved in another campaign this fall as part of her work for a group called Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition that is fighting efforts by local communities to ban oil and gas development and to educate citizens about energy issues.

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