House District 54 Republican primary: Endorsements varied, controversial
Endorsements the two GOP candidates for House District 54 have received are many and varied, including some that could prove to be controversial, at least to some voters.
While the biggest name to back Ray Scott in the Aug. 10 primary has been former congressman Tom Tancredo, the most controversial endorsement, at least for a Republican, went to Bob Hislop.
That came from Colorado WINS, the labor group that represents a large portion of the state’s government workers.
Both sought the group’s endorsement, even traveling to Denver to answer questions to get it.
Only one, however, came away with it.
“When they endorsed me, I was so shocked I just about fell over,” Hislop said. “When I got the phone call about it, I thought it was a joke. Why would they endorse somebody who wants to fire workers, who wants to get rid of workers who are lazy and not doing their job? They’re all about protectionism, and I’m all about streamlining.”
Even though the group did list Hislop on its website among others it endorsed, such as Senate District 7 Democratic candidate Claudette Konola, it decided to withdraw that support.
The group’s spokeswoman, Ellynne Bannon, said its board pulled that backing after hearing Hislop denounce the group and tell supporters what he really would do with state workers.
“Colorado WINS members interviewed Bob Hislop in good faith and trusted that he was offering us his honest views on issues important to state employees,” said Grand Junction resident Bob Pena, a board member for the group, which stands for Colorado Workers for Innovation and New Solutions. “Unfortunately, Hislop’s recent actions demonstrate a lack of integrity and support for state employees and public services, and as a result the Colorado WINS board has decided to revoke our endorsement of candidate Hislop.”
Hislop laughed when he heard that news, saying the group was wrong to endorse him in the first place.
Hislop also has the backing from several political action committees and even has received campaign donations from them. He said if WINS had given him any money, he would have sent it back.
For Scott’s part, Tancredo may be as controversial an endorsement as a labor union backing a Republican, at least to some.
The former Republican congressman from Denver’s southeast suburbs is famous for saying outrageous things, particularly if they involve illegal immigration, his pet subject.
In a campaign rally for U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck earlier this month, Tancredo said President Barack Obama was the greatest threat to the nation, even more so than al-Qaida, terrorists attacks or nuclear war.
“I firmly believe this. It’s not just, you know, sort of a dramatic statement that a person would make to get press or something, or ink,” Tancredo said in a video recording of the rally. “I believe this with all my heart. The greatest threat to the United States today, the greatest threat to our liberty, the greatest threat to the Constitution of the United States, the greatest threat to our way of life, everything we believe in, the greatest threat to the country that was put together by the Founding Fathers is the guy that is in the White House today.”
Buck, who also has Tancredo’s endorsement, immediately distanced himself from those comments, saying he didn’t share them.
Scott said the same thing.
“I think his upside’s better than his downside,” Scott said. “There are certain items that he goes a little bit too far on, but that’s Tom. That’s what he does. I think on the core principles of a conservative, he and I are on the same page.”
Scott also received backing from a few groups of his own, but most of them haven’t come with financial support.
In a somewhat ironic move, he won the endorsement from the region’s state senator who works for Buck’s opponent in the Aug. 10 primary.
Sen. Josh Penry, who is running the U.S. Senate campaign for Republican Jane Norton, called Scott a “real conservative” who will defend the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
He also has backing from area tea party groups, such as the Western Slope Conservative Alliance and the Western Slope Patriots. And, like Hislop, Scott interviewed to get an endorsement from the Colorado Medical Society, which ultimately went to Hislop.
Afterward, Scott said he interviewed for that endorsement, as he did for the Colorado WINS nod “out of courtesy,” even though he knew the medical society’s greatest issue was universal health care.