|Four Candidates To Compete In
Ward 1 Special Election
To Be Decided On March 2, 2010
Loveland - December 21, 2009
Loveland’s City Clerk Teresa G. Andrews has certified as valid the nominating petitions submitted by four different
candidates today to run for Loveland City Council next year in a special election. Today was the last day for candidates to
submit their completed nomination forms which require 25 signatures of registered voters residing within the city ward
they seek to represent on city council.
The four candidates are running for Loveland’s City Council Ward 1 seat vacated by Cecil Gutierrez when he was elected
Mayor of Loveland last November.
The mail-in election will begin February 8, 2010 when the ballots are mailed to registered voters in Loveland’s Ward 1 and
finish March 2, 2010 when the County Registrar will count the ballots and declare the winner.
The four candidates now running are Donna Rice, Robert Molloy, Adam Koniecki and John Case.
These four candidates represent a diversity of experience and perspectives on city issues. Supporters of one candidate,
Donna Rice, have already tried to improve her odds of winning by discouraging her opponents from believing they could
win the office and telling them it would be better if they dropped out before the December 21, deadline.
Previous council elections where voter choices were limited in certain Wards was often by design and not by accident.
Seeking to improve their candidate’s odds, the pro-McWhinney/Chamber faction in Loveland politics has been attempting
to dissuade two candidates they believe will draw from the same base of voters as the candidate they recruited to run for
Of the four candidates now running (Donna Rice, Robert Molloy, Adam Koniecki and John Case) only Donna Rice
stands out as the McWhinney favorite to prevail in March and will likely have a well financed campaign with frequent
newspaper ads and direct mail to voters. Efforts by her supporters to remove two of her opponents from the ballot were
ultimately unsuccessful and now all four will be competing for the seat together.
Longtime Loveland resident and Planning Commissioner Rob Molloy was encouraged to abandon his candidacy by one
Donna Rice supporter who is also the man Molloy supported for mayor last November, former councilman David Clark.
Molloy, who has a history of making his own decisions on city issues as a planning commissioner, decided to stay in the
race and give Loveland voters more options on their ballots despite Clarks comparison of him with former councilman
Walt Skowron. Clark has consistently blamed his former council colleague Walt Skowron for his defeat last November by
arguing Skowron took votes that would have helped Clark succeed over current Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez. Molloy,
unlike Clark and Rice, decided he didn't need to coordinate his candidacy with any special interest groups in town and is
instead running independently.
Molloy’s wife works for the City of Longmont in finance so combined with his experience on Loveland’s Planning
Commission and her expertise in municipal finance he is unlikely to depend on any kind of special interest cabal to guide
his campaign so is less vulnerable to such pressure tactics.
Adam Koniecki, the only candidate in this special election who also ran last November for the other Ward 1 seat now
occupied by Councilman Daryle Klassen, was encouraged to drop-out of the race by another supporter of Donna Rice.
Lee Fairman, an executive member of the Larimer County Republican Central Committee, called Koniecki and told him
Rice was the Republican’s best choice and that he should consider withdrawing his name from consideration.
Koniecki, an outspoken activist of Loveland’s 400 strong 912 group, believes he may have turned Fairman around and
now counts him among his more likely supporters. Koniecki told LovelandPolitics his campaign message that people are
responding to very well is,
“Because the council is now split 4 to 4, I intend to serve my constituents by being the independent vote that decides
issues by the merit and not by who contributed to my campaign.”
Rice is an unlikely champion for the Republican Party in Loveland. A staunch defender and tireless apologist for former
Loveland Councilman and party defector from the Colorado Legislature, Don Marostica, Rice has been an activist in trying
to rid the Larimer County Republican Party of conservative voices. Rice has begun making the rounds to the more
conservative groups in Loveland for the first time wearing the suit of a low-tax conservative; but her past reveals different
On January 9, 2007 in a letter to Nancy Hunter, former Musgrave staffer and Larimer County Party Chair, Donna Rice and
several other Republican dissenters who had refused to support Musgrave’s run for Congress stated,
“..we the undersigned, are asking you to immediately resign your position as Chair of the Larimer County Republican
The Colorado Independent ran a story entitled “The Wild and Wacky Larimer GOP” over Rice's letter. Donna Rice
collaborated with both Kitty Wild and Fern Wolaver, two supporters of Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness, who
campaigned against former Congresswoman Marylin Musgrave in the general election in 2006.
The dissident Republicans were seeking Hunter’s head in retaliation for Hunter attempting to limit party activist Fern
Wolaver from violating party rules when she was believed to be funnelling Republican candidate Musgrave's campaign
strategy and party resources to her opponent Eric Eidsness.
Donna Rice who sometimes goes by the name Donna McCrea while in Colorado after marrying Frank McCrea, does have
impressive credentials for running for local political office. As a former Wyoming “Citizen of the Year” and full time
Executive Director of the Wyoming Real Estate Commission (2003 to 2008) she is believed to be the favorite among certain
moneyed special interests in the city. Born in Sheridan, Wyoming she is well liked among residents of Cheyenne, Wyoming
some of whom were surprised to learn she claims residency in Loveland, Colorado.
Rice owns a retirement condominium in a senior complex off 29th Street in Loveland with her husband Frank McCrea
who is registered as a local real estate broker.
Besides calling for the resignation of the Larimer County Republican Party Chair, Rice has been active with a Larimer
County land rights group during her frequent visits to Northern Colorado over the years. She also was elected Wyoming
State’s Attorney for 4 years and worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Colorado in 1991.
Rice will likely raise the most money of all the candidates as two businesses (Loveland Commercial and McWhinney) can
coordinate multiple contributions for her campaign. The failure of the current Loveland city officials to enforce the city's
charter relative to a voter approved finance reform measure means McWhinney and Loveland Commercial are likely to
continue exceeding the $100 campaign finance limits per entity by delivering contributions through multiple LLC's without
disclosing the ownership of those LLC's.
Using a partisan affiliation to win support, however, to win a local office may prove problematic in this case given Rice's
divisive history within her own party. Rice’s close association with people who are now working against Republicans
(Marostica and Kaufman) in Denver may also leave people suspicious of her motives now in trying to use the Republican
brand name to garner support for her candidacy. In addition, it could back-fire with the majority of Loveland voters who
are either registered as independents or as Democrats.
Despite emails we have received to the contrary, we want to clarify that Donna Rice IS NOT the same Donna Rice who was
photographed so many years ago with Presidential hopeful Colorado Senator Gary Hart on the yacht Monkey Business.
Whether or not a photograph of Donna Rice on the McWhinney's mega yacht will surface during her campaign remains to
Unlike Rice, Molloy is not using any party affiliation to seek the council seat but instead relies on his experience serving on
Loveland’s Planning Commission and also as the city's ZBA (Zoning Board Adjustment) hearing official. Not registered
with either political party, Molloy sees the Loveland City Council seat as a non-partisan position where understanding of
the city’s zoning codes and knowledge of public administration take precedent over party affiliations.
Molloy currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Loveland Planning Commission. Planning Commissioners can easily spend
as much time as members of the City Council performing their work but don’t receive the same degree of public attention
or news coverage. Often tedious and contentious, it is the task of the planning commission to be the first stop for many
planning and development approvals before going to the city council for final approval. Traditionally, a planning
commission appointment can make a terrible springboard for running for city council because a good commissioner will
inevitably need to say no to some influential interests in the community.
In the case of Molloy, he has tangled with McWhinney when trying to enforce the city’s zoning laws. This may be what
earned him a call from David Clark to explain another candidate was selected to represent certain people in town on the
council. Molloy said his wife, a senior finance employee in the City of Longmont, wasn’t crazy about his decision to run but
does support him and certainly has the qualifications to be a trusted advisor on municipal finance issues.
Molloy told LovelandPolitics that his motive to run was out of frustration that Loveland’s City Council doesn’t listen to
their appointed boards and commissions. After the commissioners spend hundreds of hours listening to staff
presentations, hearing testimony from concerned residents and debating specific proposals the city council overturns their
decision too often he says with little or no understanding of the issue. He said it was “frustrating” and committed himself
to more fully utilizing the advice created through the process of the boards and commissions when making decisions on
Rob Molloy is an active member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Loveland where he taught an information
technology course in the Catholic grade school. He has a background with development issues and technology
implementation. His most recent position was with a local architectural firm as he is a design architect. He has strong ties
inside the development community and supports development. The fact he is well regarded in the development
community but is not necessarily an advocate for McWhinney likely explains why he poses a threat to Rice and was
encouraged to leave the race by her handlers.
Koniecki is best known in Loveland as the candidate who ran earlier in the year against incumbent Councilman Daryle
Klassen. Of the three candidates from last November’s election, Koniecki finished 3rd after Klassen and former Ward 1
Councilwoman Jan Brown.
Koniecki has been active with Loveland’s local 912 group and walked to many homes in Ward 1 during his last election to
find supporters. In his early 20’s, Koniecki’s young age was also considered a weakness for his candidacy. Not a
supporter of McWhinney, Koniecki was also encouraged to leave the race by a Donna Rice supporter but ignored the
Koniecki is a life-long Loveland resident and a trained machinist.
John Case is a long-term resident of Loveland who announced early he was interested in running for the Ward 1 seat.
Case has worked for IBM for the past 30 years while he and his wife Barbara raised their three sons in Loveland.
Case, who has a history of supporting various local candidates for office, gave among his reasons for running;
“Many people have expressed to me their concern about our local economy as well as the transparency of our
Case lives in the Glenn Isle development of Ward 1 where he also has been active in the Home Owner’s Association (HOA)
board of directors.
A former math teacher before joining IBM, Case is not afraid of reviewing budget numbers and appears anxious to try and
tackle some of Loveland’s current budget shortfalls. Case lists among the items he wants to tackle on council;
1. Competing MeHaffey Park,
2. Completing the Loveland High School pool repairs,
3. And repairing a number of the dilapidated roadways in east Loveland.
Despite the best efforts of Donna Rice supporters David Clark and Lee Fairman, Loveland voters have a wide variety of
choices for the important city council seat representing Ward 1. All four candidates are serious about running a
competitive race and winning the election in March. This will ensure a vigorous and interesting campaign debate on a
variety of issues important for the future viability of Loveland.
Limiting the number of available candidates running by pressuring people out of the race is a low-class campaign tactic
that needs to be eliminated in Loveland. Competition for local political office is the life-blood of our system of government
and needs to be preserved.
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