District 54 candidate blasts charge that he’s not really a conservative
Robert Hislop had to defend his GOP credentials this week amid a barrage of criticism that he might not be as conservative as he says.
The candidate for House District 54 has been the subject of recent speculation on local blogs and in e-mails that he’s not the conservative candidate he’s claimed to be on the campaign trail, but a left-leaning Republican at best or a moderate Democrat at worst.
It started when Grand Junction resident Kevin King, director of global sales and marketing at Aston Evaporative Services, searched the Internet and found a posting Hislop made on http://www.mydncphotos.com, a Web site that wanted to publish a book of photos commemorating the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
King described himself as a simple voter who wanted to learn more about the candidates.
On the site, Hislop, an amateur photographer, wrote:
“I’ve been around politics for over 30 years and consider myself an RID (Republican Independent Democrat),” he wrote. “I voted for all of them, don’t drink any of their Kool-aid make my own choices and know that living in the USA is the best.”
King, who said he’s not related to state Rep. Steve King, a Republican whose seat Hislop hopes to win, sent that link to The Daily Sentinel on Saturday, but also distributed it to others around Mesa County.
The rumor milled churned, spurring Hislop to erase his posting on the DNC site. The rumor mill churned some more, sparking more speculation that he was trying to cover something up.
“I totally forgot about this, but when those e-mails started coming around that night, I immediately went to the Web site,” Hislop said. “I could totally think where my detractors would think, ‘This is just damaging.’
“When I did this, there were two reasons,” he added. “The first was to get recognition to sell my photographs. The second reason was I kind of liked the idea of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and that I could taint in a photographic journal conservative, Republican thought that was going to be published by a bunch of Dems.”
Hislop, who’s seeking the GOP nomination against Grand Junction resident Ray Scott and Orchard Mesa native David Cox, said he purposely tried to deceive organizers of the photo book that he was a moderate Republican who supported Democratic President Barack Obama.
But a search on the Internet of several blogs that he frequents quickly refutes that. In one, http://www.fcstop25.com, which focuses mainly on sports talk, Hislop repeatedly denounced Obama in several 2008 postings, calling him “Hussain” and “scary” if he gets elected.
King, however, isn’t buying any of it.
“This is a classic example of why citizens get frustrated with politicians,” said King, adding he’s a supporter of Scott but not working for his campaign. “Bob Hislop is a candidate we know very little about who recently wrote on an Obama-related Web site that he is a self-described RID, and yet when a constituent comes across this information and questions it, Bob Hislop starts singing a different tune and rushes to take it off the Internet. In either case, he’s lying about who he is to someone, and I think the voters in HD54 deserve better.”
Scott said he had no knowledge of the entire matter and confirmed that King was not on his campaign staff.
“I know people who do know him (King), but I don’t personally know him that well,” Scott said.
Hislop said it doesn’t matter who’s behind it.
The retired U.S. Secret Service agent said even though most people laugh when he explains what happened, others still will believe it.
“I could go low-ball, I could do it in a heartbeat,” he said, “but I just think that I have to live by (President Ronald) Reagan’s 11th commandment, ‘Don’t speak ill of other Republicans.’ ”