Ex-backer: District 54 candidate dishonest
Doug Thompson wasn’t going to say anything about embattled House District 54 candidate Jared Wright.
As his former campaign manager, until a heart attack forced him to quit in April, Thompson didn’t feel it was appropriate, even after news broke about Wright’s 2011 bankruptcy filing and the questionable reasons why he left the Fruita Police Department last summer.
But when Thompson saw how much money the Republican candidate was raising for his campaign, he couldn’t stay quiet any longer.
As the sole major-party candidate in the race whose minor-party contender, Libertarian Tim Menger, isn’t raising any campaign money at all, Wright’s win in November is all but assured, Thompson said.
So raising funds not only would be unnecessary for Wright, it also would be a slap in the face to other GOP candidates who have real races and need the cash, he said.
“He’s stealing money from the good folks in his district to develop a war chest, and that is wrong,” Thompson said. “So he’s hurting himself because people are looking at him with an incredibly jaundiced eye, asking why’s he’s raising money when he’s already won that seat,” Thompson said. “It infuriates me that this kid is so about himself.”
Attempts to contact Wright on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
According to his latest campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Monday, Wright has raised more than $13,000 since entering the race in May.
By comparison, Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, has raised less than $16,000, and he has a major-party opponent to contend with.
That opponent, Dan Robinson, has raised slightly more. In the past two weeks, when the last reports were filed, the Democrat raised more than $7,000, bringing his total campaign donations to date to $16,218.
That’s partly what upsets Thompson, who said some of the money Wright has raised could have gone to help Scott.
“It does hurt and cuts into what other candidates should be able to raise,” said Thompson, who’s on the board of directors of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance, one of the groups that called for Wright to step down from the race to allow the party to choose a replacement.
He went so far as to call Wright nearly “a pathological liar,” saying he lied to him about why he was forced to filed chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last year, and whether Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo would allow him time off to go to the Legislature in Denver during the session.
Instead, a Fruita police internal affairs investigation of Wright showed a pattern of lateness and lying about his whereabouts on at least one of those occasions, which led Angelo to offer Wright the option of resigning his position as a police officer or be terminated if he didn’t.
Thompson said Wright told him the same thing he told Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call, that bad investments and the “Obama economy” forced his bankruptcy.
Wright’s bankruptcy filing, however, shows he owed more than $74,000 to lenders, credit card companies and collection agencies on numerous cars, thousands in jewelry and a $1,000-a-year tanning salon membership.
“He’d say anything where he can look good, he’ll make stuff up where he can look good,” Thompson said. “I’m embarrassed that I was his campaign manager. He had me convinced that he was a bright, shining star for the Republican Party.
“Everybody was impressed with the way he was able to articulate his conservatism. He looks you right in the eye and you know he’s telling you the truth. That’s what’s frightening.”