Denver Post’s primary picks defy logic

The Denver Post announced three congressional primary election endorsements on its Web site Friday with the print version appearing on the Sunday editorial page. The head-scratching nods and the apparent lack of logic behind them raise questions about whether blindfolds and lawn darts were involved in the editorial board’s decision-making process.

Anybody but Lamborn

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s squeaker of a 6-way primary win to succeed retiring CD 5 Rep. Joel Hefley in 2006 has never won him much respect. Now the Rodney Dangerfield of Colorado’s congressional delegation is getting dissed yet again by the Post’s editorial board in its endorsement of two-time challenger Jeff Crank in the Aug. 8 GOP primary.

Giving the nod to Crank, the Post posits:

Crank has the conservative sensibilities of the district, but he also seems willing to work with others in the Colorado delegation for the betterment of state interests.

However, according to, Lamborn votes in virtual lockstep with his Republican colleagues Marilyn Musgrave and Tom Tancredo; the threesome accounts for 43 percent of Colorado’s delegation.

Why Crank, who shares Lamborn’s conservative ideals and has lobbed his fair share of primary election firebombs at his opponents, will be any more likely to play kumbaya with the majority Democratic delegation wasn’t shared with readers.

Proof the editorial page doesn’t read its own paper

In its 2006 general election endorsement of Mike Coffman for Colorado Secretary of State, the Denver Post wrote:

Until Florida’s 2000 presidential election, with its butterfly ballots and hanging chads, the political profile of a secretary of state was rather modest.

But that’s changed, in Colorado and elsewhere. Nowadays, supervising election operations has put the secretary in a super-heated spotlight.

Colorado’s 2004 and 2006 election operations have been wrought with controversy and litigation. It will be up to the candidate elected Nov. 7 to restore the credibility of the secretary of state’s office.

It’s critical that Colorado’s next secretary of state boost the professionalism of the office and operate in an even-handed and efficient manner. Both candidates are more than capable, and we believe Coffman is the best choice.

Apparently a blistering Dec. 2007 report by the Colorado State Auditor on mismanagement and ethics violations in the Secretary of State’s office didn’t play into the the Post’s latest election nod that Coffman’s “political and policy experience makes him the best choice” to represent the 6th Congressional District.

However, that experience has been called into question by the Post and other leading news outlets. Coffman’s brief 18-month tenure as secretary of state has been marred by conflicts of interest, withholding public information, mismanaging an overdue voter registration database that’s costs are spiraling, and allegations of raising money for his congressional campaign while on the state clock.

It’s a mystery how those “qualifications” make him better suited for the office than his campaign money-matching CD 6 primary rival Will Armstrong, the district’s endorsement king, who recently trumpeted the support of GOP veep hopeful Mitt Romney among other Republican high-flyers.

Dog-whistle politics rules the day

The winner of the 2nd Congressional District primary will be the putative successor to Rep. Mark Udall in this longtime Democratic district. So the stakes have been high in a race pitting three Democrats in this unusually nasty race for laid-back CD 2 standards.

It’s not exactly a shocker that the Post speaks so effusively about environmental policy wonk Will Shafroth after throwing in a backhanded reference to his not being a “knee-jerk opponent of NAFTA” — coded language for moderate voters that Shafroth’s opponents, Joan Fitz-Gerald and Jared Polis, are supported by labor unions who oppose the controversial trade policy.

The Post — which ran a rare front page Nov. 4 editorial by owner Dean Singleton, excoriating Gov. Bill Ritter as “Jimmy Hoffa,” “a toady for labor bosses,” and “a bagman for unions” — has never hidden its anti-union sentiments. Splitting hairs on this low-priority issue for CD 2 voters between three highly qualified candidates seems particularly unsavory in order to advance the editorial board’s own biases.

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Wendy Norris

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