In a brief interview Wednesday night, mayoral candidate Steve Bach said that he won’t tolerate negative campaigning by “527” independent expenditure committees on his behalf.
“I called a few people (Tuesday) night,” he said, “people that both of us know. I told them to pass the word to stop that kind of stuff immediately. I don’t know specifically who was responsible (for the robo-call push poll), but I want the word to get to whoever is doing it. That has no place in this campaign, and I don’t want it.”
Chris Jenkins, who with his father David created and financed the successful “strong mayor” campaign, agrees with Bach.
“That wouldn’t be good for the city,” Chris Jenkins said. And, he continued, the mudslinging candidate might be hurt by it, especially if his opponent declined to reply in kind.
“Besides,” he noted, “It’s not as if no one in the city realizes that one candidate is slightly to the right and one is slightly to the left.”
Yet negative campaigning has often succeeded in Colorado Springs.
In the 2006 Republican congressional primary, Doug Lamborn prevailed with a scorched-earth campaign of unparalleled nastiness, linking early favorite Jeff Crank to allegedly pro-gay and pro-abortion positions.
And Douglas Bruce, in campaigns both successful and unsuccessful, has relentlessly attacked opponents and opposing groups as amoral taxophiles, self-interested parasites feeding off the unrestrained growth of big government.
So who’s running the 527 that is apparently responsible for the notorious anti-Richard Skorman robo-call?
Not former congressional candidate/radio host/Colorado director of “Americans for Prosperity” Crank, as some political insiders claim.
In fact, Crank says he despises 527s.
“These fly-by-night groups come into town, make their allegations, and then they’re gone,” he says.
“There’s no accountability, there’s no responsibility - it’s just wrong.”
So, is Crank opposed to negative campaigning?
“I’m opposed to lying,” he said. “In my campaign, things were said about me that just weren’t true. They said that I had endorsed Richard Skorman, but I had nothing to do with that - it was the Chamber’s endorsement.”
But as far as Crank is concerned, Skorman is fair game.
“You don’t attack people personally,” he said, “but you can differ with their policies. Skorman calls himself a fiscal conservative, but I think that he has advocated policies that are not fiscally conservative. So we (at AFP) will be making people aware of that, but not by personal attacks. We’ll tell the truth as we see it, and we’ll back up what we say.”