A friend and employee of far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert who works as the general manager of Shooters Grill, Boebert's bar and restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, is mounting a campaign for city council even though he does not meet the residency requirements.
This article first appeared in Salon.
According to a series of Facebook posts initially discovered by Salon, Bud Demicell — an apparent devotee of the QAnon conspiracy theory —moved to Rifle with his wife Mona late in 2020, not in time to meet the residency requirement for local elections.
On Nov. 13, 2020, Mona Demicell, who worked in Boebert's campaign office employee, posted on Facebook that the couple was "moving to Rifle, CO to work for Lauren Boebert at Shooters Grill!" She added that "Bud's last day with his current employer is next Friday. He'll go to Rifle ahead of us. We're planning to all be in Rifle by Dec 1, but we're having trouble finding a place to live."
That clearly implies that Bud Demicell was not a resident of Rifle on Nov. 2, 2020, the date that would have established residential eligibility for this year's local election. It appears that as of that date, the couple was still living in Pueblo, Colorado, more than 250 miles away.
The City of Rifle website makes clear that any candidate for municipal office must "have resided in the City of Rifle for one year before the date of the election." Additional Facebook posts by both Bud and Mona Demicell confirm that the couple most likely arrived in town on or around Nov. 21 of last year, missing the deadline by less than three weeks.
"We need a place to live!! Preferably in Rifle. 2-3 bed, 2 bath. Pet friendly," Mona wrote on Nov. 17, in a now-deleted Facebook post. "Bud will be there Saturday and couch surf with gracious friends." That date was a Tuesday, so Bud's Saturday arrival presumably meant Nov. 21.
A post from Bud a few weeks earlier, on Oct. 22, featured a photo of a camouflage "Veteran for Trump" hat and stated, "I just finished voting at the polling location in Pueblo West," indicating he was a legal resident in Pueblo as of the 2020 presidential election.
Both of the Demicells, as reported by Salon in September, have ties to both the QAnon movement and the right-wing militia group known as the Three Percenters.
Demicell didn't return a Salon request for comment for this story, but his campaign website remains live. "Bud's vast business management and financial experience, and his strong leadership skills make him the optimum candidate for Rifle City Council," his site reads. "He believes in leading by example, open lines of communication, complete transparency, and accountability for his actions as well as the actions of others."
Over the past week as Salon began reporting on this matter, a large number of Mona Demicell's Facebook posts were either made private or deleted.
Salon made numerous efforts to contact the Rifle City Clerk's office about Demicell's eligibility but received no response. The local election is less than two weeks away.