For eight months, Chris Harvin has been answering questions from reporters, like this dialogue on Friday:
Q: Why did Representative Lamborn recently vote against the ban on dogfighting?
A: He believes it should be a state issue, not a federal one.
Q: So, did Representative Lamborn introduce legislation to ban dogfighting when he was in the state Senate?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Does Representative Lamborn support dogfighting?
A: I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.
Q: Has Representative Lamborn ever been to a dogfight?
A: I seriously doubt it.
Keep reading.But after today, Harvin, the communications director for Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn, won’t be having these kinds of conversations – at least when it comes to matters related to Lamborn.
Harvin has taken a job as a vice president of a strategic communications company in Washington DC, and will be focusing on international affairs, strategic communications and crisis management.
Harvin’s announcement comes just a little more than two weeks after Jeff Crank announced his plan to challenge the freshman congressman from Colorado Springs. Harvin says he knows the timing of his departure isn’t ideal, but rejected any notion that the possibility of a tough primary challenge had anything to do with it.
“This is,” Harvin says of his new job, “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Lamborn, a conservative Republican in a conservative stronghold, won a six-way primary last year and went on to handily beat Democrat Jay Fawcett in the general election. Not known as a commanding orator, Lamborn has received some notoriety this summer, including failed attempts to whack all funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and strip public funding from the national Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
He also found himself the odd man out when Colorado Reps. Marilyn Musgrave – who is ordinarily his staunch ally – and John Salazar maneuvered an amendment to block funding for a study on an expansion of the Pinon Canyon military training site in Southern Colorado, which Lamborn supports.
Also this month in the midst of the high-profile Michael Vick dogfighting case, Lamborn was criticized for being one of only 39 members of Congress to vote against the federal Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act. The act upgrades penalties for illegal transportation of fighting dogs from misdemeanors to felonies. And to answer the question posed above, no, Lamborn did not, while serving 12 years in the Colorado House of Representatives and the state Senate, introduce legislation to ban dogfighting.
On Friday, Harvin, 33, told Colorado Confidential that leaving was a tough decision – but he simply couldn’t turn down a dream job in the private sector, for a lot more money than the estimated $78,224 he’s currently making (no, he won’t say how much more).
In the past, Harvin worked as part of Vice President Dick Cheney’s advance team, and also worked for Paul Bremer, the Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq. Here is Harvin’s departure letter:
It has been a pleasure to work with you over the last few months. As some of you know, this will be my last full week with Congressman Lamborn’s office. My time hear (sic) has been very enjoyable and it has been an absolute pleasure to serve someone as wonderful and committed as Congressman Lamborn.
As tough as the decision was to make, the opportunity ahead of me will be amazing. I will be joining Levick Strategic Communications in Washington DC (www.levick.com) as a Vice President. My focus will be on international affairs, strategic communications and crisis management. I hope in the future we will be able to keep in touch and possibly work together. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime. All press inquires after Monday should be directed to Abby Winter at firstname.lastname@example.org and (202) 225-4422.
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at email@example.com