by The Peripatetic Pundit | 9:12 pm, December 22, 2009 | Comments Off
The race to determine the Republican challenger to face vulnerable incumbent Governor Bill Ritter continues…
To date, the remaining candidates for the GOP nomination have shared a forum on only two occasions (to my knowledge) prior to appearing on Backbone Radio last weekend:
First, the top-level statewide elections were profiled at the Colorado Federation of Republican Women (CFRW) convention in Colorado Springs on Saturday, October 24th.
Shortly thereafter, both candidates (along with then-candidate Josh Penry) shared the stage at the Colorado Governor Candidate Forum at Colorado Christian University (CCU) on video!) on November 3rd.
Although Dan Maes (along with most Colorado U.S. Senate candidates, all four candidates for Congressional District 4, and Clear The Bench Colorado‘s Matt Arnold) were present at the Candidate Search 2010 event at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland on Friday, November 13th, Scott McInnis did NOT appear (maybe he’s superstitious?) nor, apparently, did he even respond to the invitation – explaining some of the skepticism with which he is received by many grassroots organizations such as the 912 Groups and Tea Party organizations. The damage is (probably) not irreparable – but McInnis will have to work hard to gain the support of these large (and growing!), active, and highly-motivated grassroots groups. (HINT: showing up would be a good start).
Since I happen to be among those who believe that a competitive, fair, spirited yet respectful primary can be to the benefit of both candidates and party, I urge voters to take a good look at all candidates in the race.
Recently (13 December), former Congressman Scott McInnis and businessman Dan Maes each appeared for a half-hour interview on the Backbone America radio show (Sundays 5-8PM on 710 AM KNUS). Each candidate was asked a nearly identical set of questions by Backbone Radio host John Andrews (and guest co-hosts Karen Kataline and Matt Schmitz). Their answers were NOT identical – and provide some insight into the policies, principles, and character of each candidate for the state’s top job.
Although both candidates presented themselves reasonably well, I was troubled by some of the responses – two in particular from Scott McInnis are worthy of additional comment.
First, when asked about the recent decision by the CSU board of governors to ban licensed concealed carry permit holders from campus (as pointed out by host John Andrews, in apparent violation of state law – which will likely be ultimately decided by the Colorado Supreme Court), (at about the 13 minute mark) McInnis punted – first to the legislature, to “see what they’re going to do”; then to the “students at CSU” who “oughtta have their own vote on it” (message to McInnis: they did, voting overwhelmingly (21-3) against the ban); then to the CSU Board of Governors (again, note to Scott: the CSU Board has no authority to trump state law); and concluding by stating “I’m not the kind of Governor who likes to jump right in the middle of every controversy that goes on at the local level.” (13:45 – 13:56)
Wow. Congressman McInnis may want to bone up on the responsibilities of the executive branch in general, and the office of Governor in particular: enforcing and upholding state law is pretty high up there in terms of priority of responsibilities.
Second, McInnis’ refusal to firmly commit to repealing the “FASTER” Colorado Car Tax (echoing an earlier perceived “waffling” on removing a pledge to reverse the increased vehicle registration “fees” from the Contract for Colorado/Platform for Prosperity last month) remains particularly jarring. McInnis correctly identifies the FASTER vehicle registration “fee” increase as a tax that “should have gone to a vote of the people” – but then inexplicably refuses to commit to overturning this blatantly unconstitutional law. To his credit, McInnis DOES seem to commit to vetoing any future legislation that “attempts to go around the TABOR amendment” or “an attempt to label a tax increase with some other label” (like “freeze” or “fee”) – although he doesn’t use the “V” word itself. Take a stand, Scott! The citizens of Colorado will back a man of principle.
Dan Maes opened well, highlighting his experience as an executive and the grassroots support he’s gained by showing up at countless events across the state. He continued with the ‘line” (his words) that “you’ve got to look a candidate in the eye, you’ve got to shake his hand, and then you’ve got to decide if you trust this person or not – and that’s ultimately what people want in a leader, like a governor.” (around 4:15)
Maes also provided unambiguous responses to the questions on the CSU gun ban (he opposes the ban, and supports upholding state law allowing permit holders to carry concealed - @ the 6:15 mark) and the FASTER Colorado Car Tax (stating that “it needs to be rolled back” – @ the 7:10 mark), chastising McInnis for failing to provide a “straightforward answer” to either question.
Maes did stumble a bit on a response to a question on states rights, and unnecessarily rose to the bait on being characterized as “belligerent” in his stance on some issues – but got the substance right, and gave clear, solid responses.
It’s worth listening to both candidate interviews in their entirety – then, draw your own conclusions on which candidate is worthy of support through the caucuses and assemblies up through the primary.
Healthy debate makes for a stronger candidate and a stronger party – may the best man win!
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