DENVER— State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) announced he was quitting the Democratic caucus amid his sexual harassment scandal, but that doesn’t make him a Republican.
Under pressure to resign and facing a pending effort to throw him out of the legislature, Lebsock’s partisan allegiance could have consequences—if he changes his registration.
If he departed the state legislature as a Republican, it would give Republicans the power to choose his replacement. That means if Lebsock’s removal appears imminent in the future, he could switch his voter registration as a parting shot at his estranged colleagues.
But that hasn’t happened. As of Thursday morning, Lebsock is still a registered Democrat, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
The move to leave the Democratic caucus is less significant. It’s little more than a symbolic protest on Lebsock’s part because party caucuses have no direct power in Colorado’s legislative process.
Caucuses are simply groups of like-minded lawmakers meant to allow them to organize and strategize before casting votes where the real power lies: on the floor and in committees.
Lebsock did not directly answer whether he might consider switching his party affiliation on his voter registration.
“I cannot say it any clearer,” Lebsock said when pressed a third time for an answer. “I am a Democrat running for Colorado State Treasurer.”
The treasurer’s race provides some incentive for Lebsock to keep being a Democrat.
It’s too late for him to run as an independent (unaffiliated) candidate for the job and Republicans have already three state legislators in the primary race.
Inside the Capitol, the GOP doesn’t seem welcoming of Lebsock.
Republican House Minority Leader Patrick Neville told 9NEWS in a statement that it’s “highly doubtful the caucus would be supportive” if the Democrat tried to join their ranks.