And here I thought Colorado Republicans had some of the worst candidates ever.
Despite running for governor for eight years while serving in another statewide office, one candidate was incapable of defining an agenda. Another gubernatorial nominee’s terribly thin resume was exposed as very exaggerated. A befuddled Senate nominee only campaigned with Republican groups even after winning the primary. Another Senate candidate, who was leading going into October, inexplicably said during a nationally televised debate that being gay is like being an alcoholic, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
But these guys are rank amateurs compared to the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, hypocritical, self-entitled, unengaged, sleepy John Hickenlooper.
Unlike those unsuccessful Republicans who frankly deserved to lose and did, Hickenlooper could possibly win this Senate race due solely to the anti-Trump prevailing political winds and the millions of dollars in “dark money” negative ads from Washington, D.C. attacking Senator Cory Gardner.
Let’s review the “highlights” of Hickenlooper’s campaign comedy:
–The best day of Hickenlooper’s failed campaign for president was the day he announced and it went downhill from there as Iowa and New Hampshire Democrats just didn’t buy the “quirky brew pub owner” shtick. He had no impact on the presidential debate stage and no one noticed or cared when he exited the race.
–Anticipating the presidential campaign’s inevitable collapse, the media asked why he wasn’t running for the Senate. He denigrated the U.S. Senate and those who serve there as do-nothings and declared he would not be a good senator.
–Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee of Washington, D.C. big footed themselves into the Colorado Democratic primary for the Senate, forcing out several candidates who had diligently campaigned for months and, unlike Hickenlooper, actually wanted the job.
–When faced with more than twenty forums with the remaining Democrats who refused to be forced out of the race by the New York/Washington, D.C. power axis, Hickenlooper showed up for only a handful. When confronted by the media on why he wouldn’t debate, Hickenlooper declared “I need my sleep.”
–During televised Democratic primary debates with his opponent, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, it was clear why Hickenlooper hid from them. He looked and sounded like a candidate who didn’t want to be there and had no idea why he was running.
–When the Colorado Ethics Commission pursued charges against Hickenlooper for alleged violations of ethics rules during trips paid for by his wealthy friends, he refused to appear before the commission. After blowing off a subpoena, the commission voted to hold him in contempt, the first elected official in Colorado history to be held in contempt by the Colorado Ethics Commission.
He was found guilty of violating ethics laws and was fined the maximum penalty. Meanwhile, taxpayers were on the hook for $150,000 in legal fees even though Hickenlooper is a very wealthy man who could have paid for his own defense.
–When asked by a reporter about these alleged ethical violations, Hickenlooper declared it was the media’s job to protect him. Remember, John Hickenlooper is special and the rules don’t apply to him.
–After being challenged to several debates by Senator Gardner, he grudgingly accepted three while blowing off a tradition laden debate in Grand Junction sponsored by Club 20, a western slope advocacy organization.
–Proving his contempt for rural Colorado–he once decried the “backwards thinking” in rural areas–he again snubbed Club 20, along with Progressive 15 representing northeastern Colorado counties and Action 22 representing southern Colorado counties, when they proposed a rural Colorado debate to be held in Alamosa.
–Although poor Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been severely criticized for the out of control homeless problem in Denver, it didn’t start with him. It was Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper who, with great fanfare, declared in 2005 he would end homelessness in ten years under his “Denver’s Road Home” program. Hickenlooper’s grand plan was a complete failure as homelessness tripled over the next fifteen years while spending millions dollars. Confronted with his failure in 2015, he said “we always knew we weren’t going to end homelessness.”
–Finally, Hickenlooper sanctimoniously declared in 2010 he would never air negative ads against an opponent and even took a shower with his clothes on in a television ad to proclaim his purity and virtue. Funny how a close race changed his mind as he now airs a series of attack ads against Gardner.
Colorado voters are the losers when a political party fails to nominate its best candidate for something as important as the U.S. Senate. Republicans have certainly been guilty of this in the past.
Imagine if Democrats had nominated former State Senator Mike Johnson, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, or former House Majority Leader Alice Madden, accomplished Democratic leaders who actually wanted the job rather than treating it as an entitled consolation prize after a failed presidential campaign.
Hickenlooper is the worst candidate for major statewide office in decades in either party.
Dick Wadhams is a GOP political consultant and former Colorado Republican state chair.