Boulder Democrat Mark Williams petitions his way to 2nd Congressional District ballot | VailDaily.com

Boulder Democrat Mark Williams petitions his way to 2nd Congressional District ballot

AVON — Mark Williams was an Air Force fighter jet pilot in the first Gulf War and an intelligence turned entrepreneur who studied Eastern mysticism. He is running for U.S. Congress … because, he says, we really need people such as him.

Williams was the first candidate to qualify for the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, a seat being vacated by Boulder Democrat Jared Polis. Williams stopped in Eagle County last week during a campaign swing.

It's making the race for the 2nd District much more interesting. Democratic insiders had preordained Boulder attorney Joe Neguse as Polis' successor, Williams said.

"The party establishment didn't think Neguse would have a primary," Williams said. "Well, they are wrong. I am in this to win."

Williams went the petition route to the Tuesday, June 26, primary, handing in 1,926 signatures to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who declared Williams the first Democrat to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot.

Williams takes no PAC money

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Williams takes no political action committee money, and said he will serve citizens, "not those at the top of the political food chain."

"We don't need help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its billionaire donors and revolving-door consultants to decide on issues and candidates here in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District," Williams said. "It's called democracy. We like our candidates like we like our values — strong — so we're taking a stand for robust policies that address the needs of all Americans.

"I believe these petitions are a strong voice for that process, and I will rely on the voters of the 2nd Congressional District to make up their own minds."

Williams is the former chairman of the Boulder County Democratic party.

First generation Joe

Neguse, 33, is the son of refugees from Africa. He is an attorney on the Front Range and in 2008 was elected as a University of Colorado Regent while still in law school. Democratic delegates to last weekend's state assembly in Broomfield put Neguse on the ballot.

Despite that, critics have labeled Neguse: "Status quo Joe."

Jan Crawford, a Colorado native and longtime Colorado political and media consultant, told The Boulder Reporter the state and national Democratic party wanted the road cleared for Neguse and blocked for all others.

In a Boulder Daily Camera column, former CU Regent Jim Martin raised red flags at the apparent pressure from party insiders.

Primary ballots will be available Friday, May 25, from the county clerk's office. They will be mailed on Monday, June 4. The primary is Tuesday, June 26.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.