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The Price of Political Rallies

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Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney holds a campaign rally at Arapahoe High School in Centennial on Feb. 6, 2012. (credit: Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney holds a campaign rally at Arapahoe High School in Centennial on Feb. 6, 2012. (credit: Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

Arapahoe County Sherriff Grayson Robinson may have inadvertently wondered into uncharted political waters this week when he announced he is sending out a bill for security services.

Sherriff Robinson announced that he is sending a bill to the Mitt Romney campaign for just over $25,000 to pay for the security that was needed from his deputies for a recent Romney campaign rally in Arapahoe County.

At first blush, this seems like a fairly common sense move since a private organization held a rally in a county and required extra security and coordination. And Sherriff Robinson has done this before, billing the Udall and Bennet campaigns for the security needed for their rallies.

However, when you realize that the Romney campaign has not been billed for local security before, you can understand that this relatively small bill for security services may set an important precedent for Colorado Presidential rallies.

Basically, what if billing campaigns for stops affects how often they will come to your town, or even state? Can this policy affect how relevant certain Colorado voters may be in November to the Presidential race?

Arapahoe County is an extremely important county in Colorado. It is politically balanced and made up of many suburban communities that will be part of big Congressional races.

In a nutshell, Presidential Candidates cannot ignore Arapahoe County, even if it is going to cost them extra money.

But the bigger question here is should local governments be forced to pick up the tab for extra security for big political rallies?

There are definitely two sides to this important question.

On one hand, if it is important for the electorate to see candidates running for the top position in the land, shouldn’t that same electorate collectively pay for the security for those events? These types of events get local issues in the national spotlight and highlight the importance of communities. For these benefits, communities should help pay to keep the attendees safe.

However, on the other hand, the electorate does not ask for these events to happen. And these events are not usually town hall meetings to get input from citizens. They are campaign stops, part of an organized effort to simply get votes, not answer concerns. Since the citizens have no say so about the events, and a private organization schedules the event, the campaign should pay for the security needed.

So, how do you feel about this? If either candidate comes to your town and your local authorities need to provide security, should campaigns pay for it? If they are forced to, and therefore decide to avoid your community, is that a fair consequence for billing campaigns for security?

I’m interested in hearing your side of the story. Leave a comment and tell us what you think.
About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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