Are Dems Trying to Tilt the Scales in GOP primary?
By Todd Shepherd
A 527 political organization named “Protect Colorado Values” has made at least one recent local TV ad buy that will attempt to influence the vote in the Republican gubernatorial primary. However, the filing agent for “Protect Colorado Values” has lengthy and strong ties to Democrat operations.
Why would someone with extensive Democrat credentials buy ad time regarding the GOP primary?
Is this merely an attempt by left-of-center organizations to tilt the scales to help Republicans nominate the gubernatorial candidate Democrats would prefer to run against?
While your author hasn’t seen an ad from the group, we already can determine quite a bit about the ad itself from campaign filings that now have to be posted on TV stations’ websites when political airtime is purchased.
A document posted today by the KMGH Ch7 website shows that the TV ads will mention Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo by name, and that the election mentioned will be the GOP primary. Meanwhile, a listing of the ad space reserved from KUSA Ch9 shows that “Protecting Colorado Values” has reserved approximately $89 thousand of airtime.
The designated filing agent for “Protecting Colorado Values” is Julie Wells, a person who has served as the “registered agent” for dozens and dozens of Democratic leaning organizations in recent years.
In October 2010, this report in the Colorado Statesman pointed out that Wells was the registered agent for numerous politically left organizations, taking large donations from major Democrat donors:
In 2010, Stryker and Gill are still among the biggest individual donors to Wells’ groups. Through Oct. 18, Gill has kicked in $300,000 to two of the committees focused on the House and Senate races (Accountability for Colorado and The Neighborhood Project). Stryker has put in $240,000 to the same two plus Twenty First Century Colorado. She also poured $108,000 into the Colorado Freedom Fund, the anti-McInnis committee.
But Gill and Stryker are by no means the biggest donors to Wells’ groups. That role has been taken over by unions; collectively, they’ve ponied up more than $3.26 million. The largest of those donors is the Colorado Education Association, which represents 40,000 state teachers. They’ve contributed $707,500, mostly through their Public Education Committee, a small donor committee. The CEA sits at the America Votes Colorado table.
All available evidence shows that the Democrats are trying to influence the Republican primary before voters will even know what’s going on — the 527 becomes registered June 1, then their ads begin to hit the airwaves June 4 (according to the 9News purchase sheet), just as ballots are arriving in mailboxes all across Colorado.
The strategy of trying to influence the outcome of a primary for your opponents was also seen in the last race for the governor’s mansion in Colorado. Lynn Bartels with the Denver Post reported on similar tactics by Democrats in the 2010 GOP primary — with advertisements coming from Julie Wells, no less.
UPDATE: It seems the ads were posted to YouTube overnight. Posted below.
UPDATE II: In the original posting, we incorrectly identified the group as “Protecting Colorado Values,” when the correct name is “Protect Colorado Values.”
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