Cranky Over Gay Hit Piece In 5th CD race

The already bizarre race to the right in the 5th Congressional District race took an even stranger twist today, when the Christian Coalition of Colorado sent out a hit piece accusing GOP candidates Jeff Crank and Lionel Rivera of being in bed, so to speak, with gays and lesbians.

The mailing piece, sent out yesterday, includes photographs of gay and lesbian couples, along with portions of a news story that appeared three years ago in the Colorado Springs Independent claiming it was proof that Crank supports the “homosexual agenda.”

In conservative El Paso County Republican circles, the charge is the equivalent of saying that you are a devil worshipper-or worse, believe that Ward Churchill has some valid points.Crank’s campaign manager Jim Banks estimates the mailer could have been sent to thousands of potential primary voters.

It includes the following erroneous headline from the Feb, 27  Independent story, “Crank Endorses Skorman.” (The actual headline for the story was “Take me to your leader” and went on to detail the hard right turn that the Colorado Springs City Council was taking.)

That election year, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce endorsed the reelection of Richard Skorman, a longtime community activist and advocate for gays and lesbians, to the City Council. At the time, Crank was the government affairs director at the Chamber of Commerce, though as he noted this week, he was a nonvoting member of the endorsement committee.

Of the Chamber’s endorsment of the liberal Skorman, Crank pointed out that the most critical issues in the city were water shortages and improving infrastructure.

It’s not a liberal-vs.-conservative issue most of the time, Crank was quoted saying. “Building a road somewhere isn’t a liberal or conservative thing.

But that hasn’t stopped the Christian Coalition of Colorado, which is supporting Doug Lamborn for Congress, from building that road, albeit shaky, straight to the “homosexual agenda.”

The mailer suggests that Rivera, as mayor of Colorado Springs, is also pro-gay because he once signed a proclamation recognizing gay pride week.

Upon seeing the misleading and graphic mailer this week, Crank says he was more than disappointed:

Actually it’s just disgusting, he said. It’s an outright lie.

Crank’s campaign manager, Jim Banks, called the mailer:

obviously below the belt and over the top. And the worst  part about it is, it’s simply not true.

In a final irony, it should be noted that Banks is a former voter registration field representative at Focus on the Family a bastion of pro-gay activism.

For commentary on the hit piece, check out

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Cara Degette

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