Ad attacks Schwartz on crime legislation supported by many
A Washington, D.C.-based GOP super PAC has begun airing a new television ad attacking Gail Schwartz, the 3rd Congressional District Democratic seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo.
The basis of the attack, however, has Schwartz’s campaign scratching its collective head.
The ad focuses on a bill approved during the 2011 legislative session that allowed certain inmates to earn good behavior time while being held in solitary confinement.
While Schwartz did vote for the bill, SB176, she wasn’t alone.
The rest of the Senate also voted for it, along with a large majority in the Colorado House, including numerous Republicans.
“This is the type of shameful, misleading fear-mongering tactic that hardworking Coloradans are sick of as a result of unlimited money in politics,” Schwartz said. “The statute was passed unanimously ... but they won’t tell you that. Again, we see Scott Tipton’s party is unable to focus on the real issues and concerns facing the families in this district.”
The ad, which began airing on Denver stations and cable networks starting on Friday, tried to tie the bill, which was passed five years ago, into today’s threats against the nation from Middle East terrorism.
The beginning of the ad, paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund, starts with a picture of a man and woman in Muslim clothing, and later features an unidentifiable man wearing a hoodie and carrying a handgun.
The ad also cites the recent stabbing of nine people in a Minnesota mall by a suspected sympathizer of ISIS, a group that didn’t exist when the bill was enacted. The attacker didn’t serve time in a Colorado prison, and certainly wasn’t in solitary confinement here.
“Today’s threats are real. We need tough leaders,” the ad starts out saying. “But Gail Schwartz failed to protect us. Schwartz voted to allow violent criminals in solitary confinement to be eligible for ‘good behavior time,’ which reduced their sentences. The disastrous effects included the early release of hardened criminals.”
While the ad cites no instance where a Colorado inmate got out early and committed violent crimes because of the bill, the only action Schwartz took on the measure was to vote for it when it was heard by the full Senate.
Others who also voted in favor of the bill include several tough-on-crime Republican lawmakers such as former Sen. Steve King of Grand Junction, current Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel of Parker and current Senate President Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs.
In the House, which the Republicans controlled at the time, such prominent Republicans who voted for it include then House Speaker Frank McNulty of Parker and now state Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs.
Other Republicans who voted for the measure include then Rep. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, and former Rep. Laura Bradford of Collbran.