The first crop of candidate endorsements are in, and they make interesting reading. The Business Journal doesn’t endorse candidates, but both the Independent and the Gazette have weighed in.
You wouldn’t think that the two lineups would have much in common, but there’s a certain curious symmetry.
District 1 Don Knight Don Knight
District 2 Joel Miller Joel Miller
District 3 Keith King Brandy Williams
District 4 Deborah Hendrix Dennis Moore
District 5 Bernie Herpin Jill Gaebler
District 6 David Moore Andres Pico
For those interested in the obscure numerology of candidate selection, we can point out that the Indy endorsed two women and one African-American, while the Gazette endorsed one woman and two African-Americans. Average age of the Gazette’ picks: 57. Of the Indy’s: 51.
But aside from such arcane factoids, it’s telling that both papers declined to endorse incumbents Tim Leigh (D-1) and Angela Dougan (D-2), and that both supported Don Knight and Joel Miller.
Leigh and Dougan have both been harshly critical of Colorado Springs Utilities, focusing on the controversial Neumann Systems contract to install pollution controls on the Drake power plant. It’s likely that both editorial boards saw their criticism as obsessive and inappropriate, rather than the oversight required by CSU board members.
And while I don’t endorse candidates as a matter of professional survival (after all, six of these folks are going to be elected, and I want to make sure that they’ll occasionally return my calls), I’m happy to be an oddsmaker. So here’s the latest line.
District 1: A few weeks ago, Tim Leigh looked impregnable. He had incumbency, support from the HBA and money in the bank. But now he’s in a world of hurt. Don Knight has momentum, important endorsements and enough money to wage a powerful campaign. Joe Barrera, Julie Naye, and Linda Mojer haven’t gotten much traction. Knight 2-1, Leigh 3-1, everyone else 25-1.
District 2: Is Angela Dougan still the frontrunner? Maybe so, but she’s got a real race on her hands. Now that Bill Murray has effectively withdrawn, she’s in a head-to-head battle with Joel Miller, who’s exactly the kind of candidate that no controversial incumbent wants to face. He’s smart, engaging, and busily chipping away at Dougan’s conservative base. Dougan or Miller? 3-1, pick ‘em.
District 3: Jim Bensberg, Brandy Williams and Keith King are battling for advantage in this race, while Tom Gallagher and Bob Kinsey are lagging far behind. King 2-1, Williams and Bensberg 3-1, Gallagher 10-1, Kinsey 25-1.
District 4: Deborah Hendrix should still prevail here, despite her failure to participate in any of the candidate forums, pleading previously scheduled engagements. That suggests that she’s either a seriously disorganized, unfocused candidate or a seriously confident one who believes that she’s got the race won – so why not get paid for a Dale Carnegie gig in Grand Junction rather than show up at Tuesday’s candidate forum? Despite Hendrix’s disregard for protocol, she still has money, endorsements, and a well-run campaign. Hendrix 1-1, Dennis Moore 5-1, Helen Collins 10-1, Gary Flakes 25-1.
District 5: Bernie Herpin, Al Loma and Jill Gaebler are waging ferocious campaigns, while Roger McCarville has been invisible. Gaebler and Herpin each appear to have deep, broad-based support, while Al Loma remains distracted by the D-11 battles. He’s doing his best to turn those negatives into positives, but time isn’t on his side. Gaebler and Herpin 2-1, Loma 5-1, McCarville 25-1.
District 6: David Moore was coasting happily along here a few weeks back, basking in endorsements and radiating a genial confidence. He’s a great campaigner, but Andres Pico has gained strength, while Ed Bircham is still Ed Bircham. Pico is as well-informed as any candidate I’ve seen in 20 years. His discussion of CSU finances at the Citizens Project forum on Tuesday night might have come from Utilities CFO Bill Cherrier – it was focused, accurate and concise. Moore 3-1, Pico 4-1, Bircham 7-1.
Meanwhile, the Gazette-endorsed candidates stand united on at least one issue. Asked by Focus on the Family whether they “support or oppose having the mayor issue a proclamation in support of the annual gay pride parade,” all expressed their opposition.
There’s something dispiriting about seeing this forgotten nastiness resurface, and it doesn’t bode well for business. We have enough problems in this community without being re-branded as the city of intolerance. It’s up to the mayor to proclaim or not proclaim, so you’d think that the Gazette’s anointed sextet would have the sense to dodge the question, instead of pandering to the questioner.
The future is unknowable, but one thing seems certain: Anti-gay prejudice is nonexistent among educated young people, and cities that cultivate such beliefs are unlikely to attract or retain the folks who will build our country’s future.