Candidate Wright pays for robocalls defending himself
Just days after two automated telephone calls went out to House District 54 voters calling on them to ask Jared Wright to drop out of the race, the GOP candidate paid for robotic calls of his own this week.
But unlike Grand Junction businessman Alex Chaffetz or Western Slope Conservative Alliance President Gary Bailey, who recorded their own messages to callers earlier this week, Wright used another familiar voice: Tom Tancredo.
“I know that there’s been a lot of press out there and I think Jared is a fighter with backbone who will not back down just because the going gets tough,” the former congressman says in the 90-second recorded message. “I know he’s a family man and a man of faith who won’t sell out our values to self-interested power brokers in Mesa County or anywhere else.”
Ironically, Tancredo did to the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, Dan Maes, in 2010 what local Republicans are doing to Wright: Ask him to step down for the good of the party.
Those calls came to Wright after revelations came to light over why he lost his job as a Fruita police officer and details of his personal bankruptcy last year.
Tancredo ended up going against Republican Party officials by leaving the GOP and becoming the gubernatorial candidate for the American Constitution Party.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper won the race with 51 percent of the vote. Tancredo got 36 percent of the vote and Maes received 11 percent.
In the call, Tancredo used many of the same words and phrases Wright did when he appeared at a small gathering of supporters Tuesday to say he planned to stay in the race despite repeated calls for him to drop out.
Like Tancredo’s message, Wright said “self-interested power brokers” were trying to force him out.
Wright didn’t return requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Western Slope Conservative Alliance officials announced Thursday that the group will hold a candidate forum Sept. 6 but isn’t planning to invite Wright.
Alliance spokeswoman Sandra Peeso said the group’s 10 directors have divided up the list of local, state and national candidates who they want to appear, but no one asked to call Wright.
“Right now, no, officially we have not invited Jared,” Peeso said. “At the time we were discussing who to invite, he didn’t come up and none of the board members brought his name up. We are inviting Tim Menger.”
Menger is a Libertarian and the only other person in the race.
The alliance doesn’t endorse candidates and calls itself non-partisan, but Peeso said she isn’t concerned that people will view not inviting Wright as a back-door endorsement of Menger.
“Our philosophy is we will invite these people, and for the members and the people who come and listen, it’s up to you to decide who they want,” Peeso said.
“We’re just giving you the venue.”
Menger has already won the support of two tea party groups in the Grand Valley, GJResults and a new group that calls itself WSCA-Tea Party.
The Whitewater resident said the race was becoming a bit “silly,” and questioned Tancredo’s description of Wright as a principled candidate.
“That sounds kind of strange coming from someone who is part of the problem,” Menger said.
“It’s like trying to get John F. Kennedy to stick up for Charles Manson and hoping that everyone will fall for it.”