Signing Your (Political) Life Away

There have been some surprises for the race to win the Senate District 7 in Mesa County between Republican Josh Penry and Democrat Dana Barker. First, it was the age difference between Penry and Barker. The second shocker was when the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel endorsed Barker. Third, was the bombshell that Barker dropped on Penry at the recent Club 20 meeting in Grand Junction-and this was captured on camera. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

First photo: Just minutes after this cordial greeting between Penry (left) and Barker (right), Barker makes a statement in front of the large Club 20 audience about the “Candidate’s Plege” he had written. He then hands Penry a copy to sign. The pledge states that the winner of the SD7 race will not seek another office while serving the four-year term.

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Photo 2: Penry reads the pledge.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhoto 3: Apparently caught off guard and contemplating the signifigance of the pledge, Penry’s facial expression signals he’s in deep thought. What should he do?

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Photo 4: After much pause, could it be he’s signing the pledge or just re-reading it? While Barker and the Green candidate answer debate questions, Penry’s head is down looking like he’s weighing the consequences of “to sign or not to sign.”

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhoto 5: The pledge letter is in Penry’s hand. Did he actually sign it? If he didn’t, what excuse will he offer to the audience?

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Photo 6: “Should I really do this?” Penry’s rubbing his ear as if he’s just not sure he’s making the right move for his political career. (The political gossip around Grand Junction had been that Penry planned to run for the Third Congressional District in 2008.)

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Photo 7: The handoff! Penry gives the signed pledge over to Barker, who also puts his signature on it. So what did this all mean?

After the Club 20 debate, we caught up with Barker. He said “Well, this pledge may not help my candidacy, but should I lose to Penry, this letter may mean a lot to Congressman John Salazar.”

Photos by Leslie Robinson