Dirty politics, Wright fusses in fundraising letter
Republican James Fletcher and Democrat Brad Webb want to assure state Rep. Jared Wright that they are not in cahoots.
Though the two men do have a common goal, to unseat Wright in House District 54, they laughed at the suggestion, which was made by the Fruita GOP incumbent in a recent campaign fundraising letter that Wright’s campaign sent out earlier this month.
“He didn’t come into this fight alone,” says Wright’s Nov. 15 letter to potential donors, referring to Webb. “With him he brought a ‘Republican’ to run in a primary race against me — a classic political triangulation technique.”
While “political triangulation” most often refers to a candidate who tries to present views that are between conservative and liberal, Wright said his intent with the letter was to show how they are trying to divide the electorate against him.
Wright goes on in the letter saying that Fletcher, a Palisade peach farmer and lifelong Republican, has spent all of his time attacking him, and not saying what he would do if elected to the Colorado Legislature.
“He has instead run a campaign completely, 100 percent trying to assassinate my character, attacking my family and trying to leverage the fact that I am not an insider politician against me,” Wright’s letter reads.
But Fletcher said he’s never said a single bad word about Wright’s family, though he has questioned his character, particularly since it was uncovered last year that Wright had amassed a $74,000 debt, filed for bankruptcy and was forced to leave the Fruita Police Department after an internal affairs investigation questioned his honesty and integrity.
“I don’t want to run a dirty battle. I want to stand on my principles,” Fletcher said.
“It just says a lot about his character,” added Webb, who runs a winery on Orchard Mesa. “It just says a lot about him as a person.”
Wright said Fletcher and his supporters have spent more time attacking him personally, something he said he finds “reprehensible,” rather than talking about issues facing the district, and what they would do to address them.
He said Fletcher’s intention to challenge his incumbency will have the effect of tearing down conservative values and Republican Party principles.
“That does absolutely no good for the Republican Party,” Wright said in an interview. “The people that look to us to be leaders, it’s a disservice to them.”
Fletcher and Webb, however, said that a political candidate’s character is an issue with voters.
“It just tells a lot about someone that he would be so dishonest, and Western Slope voters deserve better representation than that,” Webb said.
With the election nearly a year away, all three men are focused on raising campaign contributions in order to fight the battle each know is coming.
According to campaign finance reports with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, Wright has the most in his campaign coffers.
Since getting elected to the seat last year, he’s raised $12,135, only about 12 percent of which, $1,465, has come from sources inside the district, which includes Mesa County outside of Grand Junction and the western half of Delta County.
Much of the out-of-district money Wright has received has come from the Front Range, including several GOP lobbyists and Republican legislators.
Fletcher has raised a fraction of that amount, $400, $150 of which came from his own pocket.
Webb isn’t required to file his first report until January because he only recently entered the race. Still, he says he’s “somewhere in-between.”