While Colorado politics have inspired its fair share of hard fought and down right dirty races, by national standards, we play pretty fair. Whenever I’ve figured that I’ve seen it all in a Colorado election, a non-Colorado native quickly reminds me that politics is a game played at a far dirtier level in other cities, usually out east.
Well, if the current recall campaign for State Senator Evie Hudak is any sign, Colorado may be getting closer to playing in the big leagues when it comes to dirty and questionable politics.
Like any good fight, there is plenty of blood and blame to go on both sides of the battle.
On one side, you have supporters of Sen. Hudak, who oppose the recall effort, who are distributing door hangers and sponsoring robocalls that warn citizens of a “community alert” that people seeking signatures for the Hudak recall may be criminals and may make personal information public. The authentic sound of the robocalls actually caused some of the recipients of the calls to believe they were receiving a reverse 911 call.
WEB EXTRA VIDEO: Sen. Edie Hudak Sits Down With Political Specialist Shaun Boyd
Recall supporters are not sitting by like angels during the battle. Adding fuel to the fire of the robocalls, a signature gatherer for the recall campaign slapped a camera out of a Hudak supporter’s hand and the same signature gatherer indeed has a criminal record. Now, one supporter does not represent an entire effort, but don’t tell Hudak supporters that.
Obviously, the Hudak recall effort represents much higher stakes considering the results of the recalls of John Morse and Angela Giron. Not only is success more likely in a competitive district like Hudak’s, but the balance of power in the Colorado Senate is at stake.
But here’s the thing that may guarantee Colorado enters the big leagues when it comes to down and dirty political methods. The Colorado Senate, and even the House for that matter, will be in play in nearly every major election year. Colorado’s recent political past shows that one party can’t hold either the Senate or the House for very long.
So by that theory, if major balance of power issues are at risk, then do the gloves come off at this level? If so, this may become the new normal for Colorado politics.
Like negative ads, these political strategies exist because they work. The only way our state could deflect this kind of political tactics is to punish the purveyors by voting for their opponents.
But even that strategy has a problem. What if both sides engage in this kind of work, as is usually the case?
The problem then becomes that someone playing by these new East Coast rules will win, and that victory will inspire even harsher campaign maneuvers.
I’m not the alarmist type. But I also recognize trends in politics, even trends I really don’t want to see. It seems to me that the level of urgency that has inspired this kind of campaigning is only going to inspire more moves like it.
Whether it’s claiming the opposing campaign hires criminals to come to your home or smacking cameras out of aggressive opponent’s hands, it’s clear to me that Denver may begin to enjoy the kind of political battles that only our East Coast transplants have seen before.
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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 usually 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 is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.