The invite in the mail to area Republicans in Eagle and Garfield Counties read “The Young Republicans debate Eagle County Democrats.” Later, a correction was sent after Hush, Hush found that the Eagle County Democratic Party knew nothing of the event. The debate organizers said it was now with “some very visible Democratic Party activists of Eagle.”
In reality, the debate on the issues at Loaded Joe’s Coffee House and Bar in Avon on Tuesday night should have read: three prepared Republicans against two Independents, who had to read from notes about their “positions” and a Libertarian.
One thing the event did accomplish: event organizer and Young Republican Muhammad Ali Hasan is a person to watch in future Western Slope politics. The debate fill-ins for the “Left” were recruited rather hastily since the Young Republican debate organizers had no luck in finding any Democrats to oppose.
Funny, the questions such drilling on the Roan Plateau, water and a couple of other issues that Hasan answered for the “Right” side during the debate sounded just like his talking points in an interview Hush, Hush had with him about an hour before concerning his possible run for State Senate District 8.
And one of the debate organizers wondered why he couldn’t find any Eagle County Democratic Party members to participate? In fact, it was hard finding a Democrat in the bar.
But there was a lobbyist or two, lots of media for a local event, a number of Republican operatives, oh, and a few locals who wanted to hear about the issues.
It really wasn’t about a debate on the issues. This event was a trial run for a future Republican candidate and everyone but the locals and the Vail Daily* knew it.
It isn’t news when a middle-aged white guy runs for office, regardless of party or seat. Native Coloradan and Beaver Creek resident Muhammad Ali Hasan, 27, obviously doesn’t fit that bill. Possibly challenging Rep. Al White in a Republican primary, he’s looking at running for SD8 in the northwest part of the state that includes Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Eagle and Garfield Counties.
The district also includes the towns and cities of Meeker, Rangeley, Rifle, Gypsum and Craig – not exactly places where a political advisor would be recruiting a non-white younger man of other than Christian faith to run for state office.
But Hasan has a few aces up his sleeve. He’s a financially successful businessman; he’s very personable and gregarious; he’s been an active conservative Republican and stalwart Bush supporter; he’s good looking and single; and he’s a media rock star.
With a resume that includes Muslims for Bush, MSNBC, Fox News, Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect, NPR, Dennis Miller on CNBC and others — whatever race Hasan enters, cameras will be sure to follow.
Poor Al White. All he has is the Republican old-guard — but the Democrats shouldn’t be snoozing either.
If Hasan should run and win the Republican primary for SD8, there will be 15,000 reporters at the Democratic Convention looking for unconventional political stories in Colorado and this one will be right under their noses.
Hush, Hush has gone too far forward; back to the Avon “debate.” One does want to credit the debate organizers for drumming up interest in local, state and national issues. And a political pundit always appreciates a preview of things to come.
Photo: Muhammad Ali Hasan
* Hasan also is a columnist for the Vail Daily