In a move that could shake up Douglas County’s political leadership, county Commissioner Lora Thomas announced today that she will run for sheriff in 2022.
If the Republican’s bid is successful, she would be required to resign from her position in the county government about two years early and would be replaced by a committee of the same party.
Thomas was elected to a second term as commissioner in 2020; her term is set to end in January 2025.
“I love being a county commissioner but I don’t see any candidates in the race as qualified as I am,” Thomas said in an interview with Colorado Community Media ahead of today's announcement.
Thomas was a Colorado state trooper from 1984 to 2003 and in 1998, she became the first female major for the State Patrol. In 2010, she was elected as the county coroner.
“It has always been in my heart to be sheriff of this county,” Thomas said. “Being in law enforcement has always been the best job I ever had.”
So far, there are already three other declared candidates for sheriff in the 2022 election, all Republicans. They are Holly Nicholson-Kluth, a former undersheriff; John Anderson, a former Castle Rock police commander; and Darren Weekly, the captain of investigations for the sheriff's office.
According to the latest data from the Colorado secretary of state's online database, Nicholson-Kluth has raised about $35,000 in campaign contributions and used about $12,000 and Anderson has raised about $17,500 and spent $3,000. Weekly has not raised or used any funds.
Thomas and Anderson both ran against Tony Spurlock, the current sheriff, in 2014. Neither received enough votes during the Republican Party's state assembly that year to make it onto the primary ballot.
In the past, Anderson has directly criticized Thomas, saying during public comment in an April commissioner meeting that he has considered getting a restraining order against her “over the comments she has made against me.” He also accused her of abuse of power and divisive behavior “when she doesn’t get her way.”
Thomas announced her candidacy at a monthly Highlands Ranch Republic Breakfast today.
After Commissioner George Teal was elected last November, Thomas has been on the losing side of several 2-1 votes from the board. In April, Thomas was stripped of her board chair position by Teal and Commissioner Abe Laydon following a bout of infighting among the members.