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Sheriff candidate defends ties to extremist group after calls for hangings

Dougco Commissioner Lora Thomas, a Republican candidate for sheriff, stood by a pledge she gave to the conservative group FEC United.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas, a Republican candidate for sheriff, stood by a pledge she gave to the conservative group FEC United after its founder called for the mass hanging of political opponents.

Thomas has signed a pledge offered to candidates and elected officials by FEC United which promises loyalty to conservative principles.

FEC United founder Joe Oltmann, a prominent figure in Douglas County and statewide Republican politics, has called for the mass hanging of political opponents he accuses of treason.

"I want to send the mainstream media to the gallows, radical leftists to the gallows, traitors to our nation to the gallows, and they all kind of fit in the same bucket," Oltmann said on his Conservative Daily Podcast.

On another episode of the podcast, Oltmann spoke directly of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

"You are a traitor," Oltmann said. "Gallows."

Thomas was questioned about her links to FEC United by a citizen at Tuesday's Board of County Commissioners meeting.

"The pledge that I signed was that I would honor my conservative principles and if I did not, I would expect the people to hold me accountable for those principles," Thomas said. "I have never been at any meeting where I have asked to end anyone's life."

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Reached via text on Friday, Thomas said she had attended one FEC United meeting where she did not recall talk of violence.

Prior to addressing the citizen concerns this week, Thomas had ignored several requests for comment about her ties to FEC United.

Thomas would not say if she intended to withdraw her FEC United pledge.

"I can only assume that you listened to my remarks in their entirety," she said. "As such, then you should have heard my response, which was clear and should need no clarification or editorial from you."

Thomas said she viewed the FEC United pledge, which was signed by a number of Republican candidates and elected officials, to be a boilerplate outline of conservative values.

"The pledge I signed was to a set of values, ideals and principles, NOT to an organization or any individual of an organization," Thomas said.

Thomas declined to answer when asked if she would be comfortable with the United American Defense Force, a militia affiliated with FEC United, operating in Douglas County.

"Any attempt to associate or connect me with the advocation of violence by another person is not only wrong, but purposefully reckless," Thomas said.

Thomas, a former Douglas County coroner and veteran of the Colorado State Patrol, is one of four Republican candidates for Douglas County sheriff.

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