Chamber snubs both options, GOP and Libertarian

Tim Menger says he must be scum.

The Libertarian candidate for House District 54 said he can’t understand why he can be the only candidate in the race for that seat to appear at a debate for the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and still not be endorsed.

That happened because the only other candidate in the race, scandal-plagued Republican Jared Wright, didn’t show.

“I had no idea how deeply rooted political favoritism and dishonesty were in my own backyard,” the Unaweep Canyon resident said. “Like Club 20, the Chamber of Commerce is showing its colors as a bunch of new faces protecting the old guard of two-party-only politics.”

The chamber held debates earlier this month between candidates in races from the Mesa County Commission to the Colorado House.

Of those four races, the chamber only made endorsements in three:

■ Republican Ray Scott over Democrat Dan Robinson in House District 55.

■ Republican John Justman over unaffiliated candidates Jana Gerow and John Leane in Mesa County District 1.

■ Republican Rose Pugliese over Democrat Dave Edwards in Mesa County District 3.

The chamber also announced its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican, over Democrat Sal Pace for Congressional District 3.

Diane Schwenke, chamber executive director, said the reasons why it didn’t endorse anyone in Menger’s race were simple.

“One of the things that we look at is electability,” she said. “The reality is that no one felt comfortable endorsing Jared Wright, so then we looked at Tim Menger. On a personal level, we liked him. But in terms of his business background ... there simply was not enough evidence there to say” he would be a strong advocate for the business community.

Menger said it isn’t for the chamber to say he isn’t electable. He thinks it might have been dismissed because he’s not raising any campaign money to spend at those businesses.

“When it is assumed that I will lose the race for HD54 simply because I’m not wasting money, that is an insult thrown at the citizens saying that their vote is for sale,” he said. “What do you have to do to be electable these days? Free ice cream bars for everybody?”


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