|Colorado Secretary of State|
|January 11, 2011 - Present|
|January 13, 2015|
|Years in position||2|
|Predecessor||Bernie Buescher (D)|
|Elections and appointments|
|First elected||November 2, 2010|
|Next election||November 4, 2014|
|Term limits||2 consecutive terms|
|High school||Riverside-Brookfield High School (1983)|
|J.D.||University of Michigan (1990)|
|Service/branch||U.S. Army Reserves|
Gessler grew up in Riverside, Illinois. He graduated from Riverside-Brookfield High School in 1983, and went on to earn his B.A., M.B.A., and J.D., from Yale University, Northwestern University, and University of Michigan, respectively.
After receiving his law degree in 1990, Gessler began his career as a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He served as a reservist in the United States Army for sixteen years and has served overseas in locations such as Bosnia where he ran a Civil-Military Cooperation Centre in Gornji Vakuf, and Travnik, both in British Multi-National Division Southwest. Following his move to Colorado, Gessler joined Hackstaff Gessler LLC, a Denver-based private practice law firm, where he still works today. Prior to assuming office of secretary, he taught election law at the University of Colorado Law School.
- Riverside-Brookfield High School (1983)
- Bachelor's degree, Yale University (1987) in history and political science
- Juris Doctorate degree, University of Michigan (1990)
- Masters of Business Administration degree, Northwestern University (1996)
Colorado Secretary of State (2010-present)
Gessler defeated incumbent Bernie Buescher (D) in the 2010 general election, becoming Colorado's 37th Secretary of State.
Gessler's incited a forceful backlash from Colorado democrats when he filed a lawsuit and subsequently testified against a popular bill to include and/or reactivate voters classified as "inactive-failed to vote" since 2010. The bill, introduced by Democratic Pueblo County Clerks, aimed to reach out to this base of underground or circumstantially disenfranchised voters, comprising roughly 71,000 Coloradoans between Denver and Pueblo, by automatically mailing them ballots. Supporters argued that "without the legislation, it will be more difficult for seniors, active duty military and others who rely on mail ballots to cast votes in 2012." As for his reasons, Gessler cited the legislation's expense, the importance of procedural uniformity in elections across all counties, and the irresponsibility of performing "radical surgery on elections administration" shortly before a presidential election. His initial reaction was to file suit against Denver County- one of the two "Democratic strongholds" the bill would target; when his request for an injunction was rejected by Denver District Judge Brian Whitney in October 2011, he continued fostering efforts to crush the bill, leading up to his controversial testimony in March 2012. Angered democratic lawmakers and party-members were adamant that his opposition reflected a disposition toward letting his partisan agenda precede the concern for doing right by Colorado voters, noting that the only clerks who were not on board were Republican and the mailings would primarily impact Democratic-leaning precincts.
After the judge's ruling in October 2011, thousands of dormant military voters--some overseas--were mailed ballots. Gessler invoked his preemptive authority as the state's chief elections official to issue the clerks a cease and desist order. The bill passed in the State Senate 29-10 but was ultimately killed in the Republican-dominated House local affairs committee on March 28, 2012. Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio said afterward, "If Gessler is unwilling to fulfill his duties as a non-partisan election officer, the people of Colorado should consider all avenues necessary to remove him as Secretary of State." A member from Gessler's public relations team responded that he would not dignify left-wing antagonism, including Palacio's threat of a potential recall election.
Issue committee financial reporting
On June 10, 2011, two non-profit voter advocacy groups -- Common Cause Colorado and Colorado Ethics Watch -- sued Gessler in Denver District Court over a new financial rule he imposed on ballot measure issue committees. Gessler, in his capacity as Secretary of State, had announced in May that issue committees would only be required to report contributions and expenditures over $5,000; under the Colorado Constitution, that threshold is set at $200. The $5,000 requirement is standard in several other states, including neighboring Nebraska.
Gessler explained that he imposed the new rule in response to a November 2010 court decision against the state, in which the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the $200 threshold excessively low and unduly burdensome to issue committees. He criticized the plaintiffs in the June 2011 suit, noting that he acted to protect the state, which had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending itself before the 10th Circuit. "This latest complaint only adds insult to injury," he said. In response, Common Cause Colorado and Colorado Ethics Watch argued that Gessler's office lacked the authority to rewrite state campaign finance law by fiat. They also suggested that applying a one-size-fits-all rule like Gessler's to "every ballot question ... from the smallest local measure to a statewide ballot initiative where millions of dollars are involved," was inappropriate.
In addition to raising the reporting threshold to $5,000, Gessler's rewrite of the campaign finance rules also calls for limiting the total fine that may be charged for late or incomplete campaign-finance reports to $9,000—-or $50 a day for up to 180 days. The new order will go into effect permanently on March 30th. The suit's unsuccessful plaintiffs, among other critics, expressed disappointment that these rules will greater strengthen the already influential role of money in determining election outcomes. Gessler countered that the rewrites promote our First Amendment rights. "We want to make campaign finance requirements as clear as possible so that Coloradoans can get the transparency they expect with maximum political participation and civic engagement," he said on February 22, 2012.
- General Election
- Gessler won the general election race for secretary of state with 49.5% of the vote.
|2010 Race for Secretary of State - General Election |
|Republican Party||Scott Gessler||49.5%|
|Democratic Party||Bernie Buescher||43.9%|
|Constitution Party||Amanda Campbell||6.6%|
- Scott Gessler ran unopposed in this contest
Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Scott Gessler's donors each year. Click [show] for more information.
|Scott Gessler's Campaign Contributions|
Colorado Secretary of State
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$354,663 (Democrat)|
|Top 5 contributors||Jessica Peck Corry||$1,650|
|Denver County Republican Central Committee||$1,500|
|Lola L Spradley||$1,250|
|15 individuals||$1,050 each|
Gessler currently resides in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Kristi, and their daughter, Sofia.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Scott + Gessler + Colorado + Secretary"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler to visit Steamboat on Friday - Steamboat Pilot & Today
- Scott Gessler Reportedly Considering 2014 Run For Colorado Governor - Huffington Post
- Colorado Secretary of State notifying more possible noncitizen voters - Denver Post
- Colorado ethics panel: Scott Gessler can have criminal defense fund - Denver Post
- Steamboat Springs morning roundup for Friday, May 17 - Steamboat Pilot & Today
- 2014 elections: Who's in, who's on the fence - The Durango Herald
- Craig Briefs: Free workplace anger seminar today at CNCC - Craig Daily Press
- 2013 Legislature: Colorado Dems leave stamp with guns, pot and fracking policies - The Coloradoan
- New election law opens door to voter fraud and intimidation Colorado Secretary ... - Longmont Daily Times-Call
- Greenlee: Reforming Colorado elections? - The Daily Camera
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Secretary of State
1700 Broadway, Ste. 270
Denver, CO 80290
Phone: (303) 894-2200
Toll Free Phone: (303) 869-4867
Fax: (303) 869-4860
- Colorado Secretary of State
- Governor of Colorado
- Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
- Attorney General of Colorado
- Official Colorado Secretary of State website
- Scott Gessler for Colorado Secretary of State Campaign website
- Scott Gessler's Facebook profile
- Scott Gessler's MySpace profile
- Scott Gessler's Twitter account
- Project Vote Smart - Scott Gessler biography
- Campaign contributions: 2012, 2010
- ↑ Grand Junction Sentinel "Gessler becomes new Colo. secretary of state" 3 Nov. 2010
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Denver Post "Judge's ruling allows Nov. 1 election ballots to be sent to inactive voters," October 8, 2011
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The Denver Post "Colorado Democrats want Secretary of State Scott Gessler removed from office," March 29, 2012
- ↑ Denver Post, "2 groups sue Gessler over campaign finance decision," June 10, 2011.
- ↑ The Denver Post, "Secretary of State Scott Gessler rewrites Colorado campaign finance rules," February 23, 2012
- ↑ Mitt Romney for President, "Mitt Romney Announces Support of Minnesota Leaders," February 4, 2012
- ↑ Colorado Secretary of State - 2010 General Election Results
- ↑ Colorado Secretary of State - 2010 Republican Primary Election Results
- ↑ Follow the Money.org
Bernie Buescher (D)
|Colorado Secretary of State
| Succeeded by|