Ad campaigns hit Tancredo, Buck on support for Ref. A ‘water grab’ in 2003

The Colorado Conservation Victory Fund has re-upped a week-long radio ad buy on the Western Slope aimed at gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo and his support of bitterly opposed Referendum A water bonding proposal in 2003.

That proposed amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes would have compelled the state to issue $2 billion in bonds to pay for unspecified water diversion projects. It had no time limit and would have cost $4 billion to repay – making it potentially the greatest state debt ever incurred.

American Constitution Party candidate and former Republican congressman Tancredo supported Referendum A, billed as a drought-prevention measure, but it went down by a 67 to 33 percent margin.

On the Western Slope, where Tancredo hopes to grab traditionally fiscally conservative voters in his bid to bury Republican nominee and Tea Party favorite Dan Maes of Evergreen and upset Democratic frontrunner and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Referendum A was reviled as a blatant Front Range water grab.

Colorado Conservation Victory Fund first launched the Dr. Seuss-inspired radio spots last week, with its rhyming slam of Tancredo running on 34 stations in 18 counties an average of 5-6 times a day.

Now, according to Colorado Conservation Voters Executive Director Pete Maysmith, the spots are back by popular demand and will run through Tuesday’s election. And, actually, Maysmith said he was more inspired by Ed Quillen’s Sept. 30 column in the Denver Post entitled “The Curse of Ref. A.”

Quillen’s column detailed the political misfortunes of Republicans who backed the measure, including GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck, who is the subject of a League of Conservation TV ad (video below) on his backing of Referendum A. The poetic tone of the CCV radio spots was just an attempt to counter the doom-and-gloom cacophony of the current election advertising cycle.

“We decided to run the radio spot highlighting Tancredo’s support but wanted to do something that was fun and clever to break through the noise of the political season a bit. Hence our spot,” Maysmith told the Independent.

Here’s a transcript of the 60-second “Water, Water” radio spot:

Water, water, everywhere,
And all our rivers would shrink.
Water, water, everywhere,
And none for us to drink.

Tom Tancredo voted yes
To send our water east
To Aurora it would go
And cost 4 billion dollars at the least

Tom Tancredo Loved Ref A
And thus it was to our dismay
To Denver lawns and pools he’d send
Our water on its way

We said NO to Tancredo
To keep our water here
And maintain our rivers’ flow
To us the answer’s clear

And now let us look
It’s that same ol’ man
Think he’ll support
That same old plan?

Water, water, everywhere,
And all our rivers would shrink.
Water, water, everywhere,
And none for us to drink.

Paid for by Colorado Conservation Victory Fund. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

Maes, the Evergreen businessman now badly trailing Tancredo in the polls, is apparently even more even more misinformed on water issues, saying in September, “If it starts in Colorado, it’s our water.”

And here’s a YouTube video of the Buck TV ad:

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About the Author

David O. Williams

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

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