El Paso County Dems reorganize, minus drama of local GOP

Local Democrats elect a political consultant to lead the party for the coming two years
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Mischa Smith was elected chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party. (Photo courtesy of the party.)

Unlike the El Paso County Republican Party, local Democrats elected a new slate of party leaders on Feb. 4 who ran unopposed.

Mischa Smith, a political consultant, was chosen as party chair, succeeding John Mikos, who served during the last two years when the number of Democrat state legislators from El Paso County doubled.

Smith ran against Regina English in the June 2022 primary election in House District 17. English went on to capture the seat over Republican Rachel Stovall.

Rob Rogers was elected as the first vice chair; John Jarrell as the second vice chair; Cindy Carr as the secretary, and Lynne Brown as treasurer. “The new leaders received no opposition from the central committee, demonstrating the party’s commitment to unity and progress,” the party said in a release. “Mischa Smith, the new Chair, delivered an inspiring acceptance speech, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity, innovation, and progressivism in the party. Smith expressed her hope to expand the party’s reach by making it more diverse and representative of the community it serves.”

To ensure accessibility for all participants, the meeting was conducted using in-person and virtual methods, the release said.

“The unified and smooth election of the new leaders stands in stark contrast to the chaos currently being experienced within the El Paso County Republican Party, providing a clear demonstration of the Democrats’ commitment to solidarity and progress,” the release noted.

That’s a reference to divisions within the party that led the local GOP to sue the state party over how reorganization will be conducted. Traditional Republicans want to oust current chair Vicki Tonkins, who they allege showed favoritism in past elections to a slate of far right-wing MAGA candidates who deny President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and advocate for returning to hand-counted ballots. The Republican reorganization is scheduled to take place this coming weekend, and it appears two separate meetings in El Paso County will be conducted: Tonkins will preside over a meeting, while another bunch of Republicans will hold a separate meeting, according to media reports.

The Democrats’ release said the party plans to get involved on upcoming municipal and school board elections and participate in this year’s redrawing of county commission districts.

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