The 527 organizations of Trailhead, Colorado Leadership Fund and Progress Colorado have made advertising buys in the Grand Junction area to influence the race for House District 55 between Democrat Rep. Bernie Buescher and Republican challenger, Bob Caskey. Executive director of the Trailhead group, Alan Philp confirmed to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel that they have spent $50,000 attacking Buescher’s voting record.According to the Daily Sentinel story, Philp explained how he made his $50,000 decision to support the political newcomer Coskey:
I’ve only met Bob Caskey once in my life,” Philp said. “He seems like a good guy, based on public documents available.”
The Colorado Leadership Fund has also spent tens of thousands of dollars on the HD 55 race targeting Buescher.
How did Rep. Bernie Buescher earn the ire of these special interest groups? First, the statistics: There are 21,226 registered Republicans, 10,918 Democrats and 15,257 Unaffiliated and miscellaneous registered voters. In 2004, Buescher won against conservative Shari Bjorklund by grabbing 18,600 votes (55.3%) to Bjorklund’s 14,530 (44.5%) votes. Theoretically, Buescher should not have won in this Republican-weighted district.
Second, in a Democratic-controlled legislature, Buescher has been appointed to powerful leadership roles such as heading the Joint Budget Committee.
Third, Buescher has not shied away from confronting Governor Owens.
In response to the negative Trailhead advertising, Buescher’s campaign has reconfirmed their desire to stay positive and ethical. Plus, Grand Junction is still a “small town” in comparison to the Front Range and Buescher is well known and respected. All the thousands of Trailhead advertising dollars may not be enough to prop up Caskey’s candidacy.
Photo: Buescher and Coskey debate at Club 20. Photo by Leslie Robinson