Election 2018Hot SheetState agencies

Williams dominates newspaper endorsements for secretary of state

Author: Joey Bunch - October 30, 2018 - Updated: October 31, 2018

Wayne WilliamsColorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams speaks at a campaign event in Greenwood Village on Aug. 11. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

If not for the Boulder Weekly, incumbent Secretary of State Wayne Williams would have swept the endorsements from the state’s newspapers.

The Boulder paper backed Democrat Jena Griswold over the Republican from Colorado Springs.

Williams picked up endorsements from all the dailies, so far, as well as the Yellow Scene magazine in Boulder. (The Boulder Daily Camera, as of Tuesday night, had not made an endorsement yet in the secretary of state’s race.)

> RELATED: Election Preview 2018 | Here’s CoPo’s complete special report

Here are excerpts from how editorials described the candidates.

The Gazette of Colorado Springs: Williams

“Williams is a lawyer with expertise in election law and years of experience in public service. Before statewide voters elected him as secretary of state, Williams served in Colorado Springs as the clerk and recorder of El Paso County, the state’s most populous county at the time.

“In everything from voter registration to upholding campaign finance laws to certifying ballot petitions, Williams has given Coloradans confidence in a process that is fair to everyone from every segment of the political spectrum. Voters will be wise to keep Wayne Williams in office.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

Aspen Times: Williams

“Wayne Williams continues to run a state office that tries to stay clear of politics and ensures that our voting processes are safe and secure. As a Republican, Williams has challenged the president’s voter-fraud claims, and he is not afraid to keep alive the conversation about Russian hacking and how his office is working to fight off attempts to compromise the Colorado election system.

“There is no reason to make a change in an office that has become an example for the rest of the country to look at as confident and poised.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

The Durango Herald: Williams

“The problem here? Incumbent Wayne Williams, a Republican from Colorado Springs, might just be the best secretary of state Colorado has had, not least because, as The Washington Post noted, since 2016, Colorado has become “the safest state to cast a vote” – and certainly one of the easiest.

“Williams has been able to do this by approaching the work in a strictly nonpartisan fashion, which we believe is needed now more than ever.

“‘There’s a record of four years of what I’ve done,’ he told us, ‘and the best way to tell what someone is going to do in the future is by looking at what they’ve done in the past.’”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Williams

“In short, we think the Republican incumbent has earned a second term. His opponent, Democrat Jena Griswold, is running to stop dark money in Colorado campaigns, help small business owners and entrepreneurs and ensure accessible and secure elections. Aside from the dark money angle, Williams has already productively touched on these issues and championed transparency in government.

“Williams has given Coloradans confidence in the processes to elect office holders, certify ballots, monitor campaign finances and register voters and businesses. We urge voters to give him a second term.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

The Pueblo Chieftain: Williams

“If you haven’t heard much about Williams during the last four years, that’s a good thing. That means the office has been running smoothly without any major problems or scandals. So the question then becomes: Why make a change?

“Jena Griswold, his Democratic challenger, doesn’t offer a compelling reason to replace Williams.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

Salida Mountain Mail: Williams

“Seeking a second four-year term, Mr. Williams, former El Paso County clerk and recorder, has worked with counties to purchase secure election equipment that uses paper ballots, which help prevent the potential hacking fully electronic systems are subject to. His work in his first term as secretary of state has earned nationwide attention and praise, with many referring to Colorado’s voting system as the safest in the nation.

“Wayne Williams is the clear choice.”

Read the endorsement by clicking here.

The Colorado Springs Independent: Williams

“On the other side of the ticket, Griswold, who says she would dedicate herself solely to the office, has much to offer. She is an intelligent, articulate attorney who is well versed on the issues. Her enthusiasm for public service is evident, and we would love to see her stay involved. We strongly encourage Griswold to keep active and build up her experience and resumé by making a bid for a different office.

“But Williams has done a fine job running an effective, efficient and nationally recognized administrative office. He’s earned another term.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

The Denver Post: Williams

“Williams is a true public servant who impressed in El Paso County as the clerk and recorder. His handling of Election Day 2012 when the county election headquarters was evacuated during the Waldo Canyon fire is now part of election lore.

“Williams has also impressed us as secretary of state. He found creative ways to incentivize counties to invest in new, secure voting equipment that maintain paper ballots — a prescient move made long before Russia ever tried to hack the electronic voting systems in other states. Coloradans can now be confident in secure elections.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

Boulder Weekly: Griswold

“Though Colorado currently enjoys the highest voter registration rate in the country, we think the Secretary of State’s office can do more to increase voter turnout. Griswold’s pledge to add same-day voter registration, provide permanent polling stations, and put voting stations on college campuses are ways to do just that. That Griswold decided to run for Secretary of State after Williams complied with the Trump administration edict for states to hand over voter data ensures, in our opinion, that she has the requisite perspective to serve our voters righteously.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

The Aurora Sentinel: Williams

“Williams’ job will never be more important and more challenging than it will be in the next few years as federal investigators unravel more about the reported attempts of Russians and others to hack computer servers hosting U.S. voting systems. So far, Williams has kept a critical distance between his office and the Trump White House, which seems to work as hard at undermining faith in the U.S. election process as does the Kremlin.

“His challenger, Jena Griswold brings little practical experience to the race, but a great deal of chutzpah. Griswold says she wants to push the state into enacting serious campaign finance reform, control the flow of “dark money” into state elections and expand automatic voter registration in Colorado. They’re excellent ideas, but they’re the job of the Legislature, not the secretary of state. Griswold offers a strong, activist voice for needed reforms, but that voice belongs on the floor of the state House and Senate, not the offices of the Secretary of State.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

Yellow Scene Magazine of Boulder: Williams

“Mr. Williams has been a terrific Secretary of State, pushing us to the highest levels of safety and participation while ensuring multiple avenues of participation for citizens. We trust Wayne to continue to lead the office of Secretary of State, even while hoping that he reigns in what appears to be legitimate, if dubiously necessary, discretionary fund purchases.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

Fort Collins Coloradoan: Williams

“Wayne Williams, a Republican from Colorado Springs, has been the secretary of state since 2015 and has done an admirable job. The office has been properly operated in a fair and nonpartisan manner under his direction.

“The office also has made great strides in protecting the state’s election process by implementing effective cybersecurity measures. Indeed, Colorado recently was recognized as one of the safest places to vote in the country.

“Williams has been responsive to legislators and changing times brought on by advances in technology. His office worked with state Sen. John Kefalas, the Colorado Press Association and others to update the state’s open records laws as they pertain to digital records.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.