Swift Boats Make Waves Again in Second District Campaign

Swift boats run the Iraq track off course in tiff between Polis and Fitz-Gerald over contributions.The second congressional district has no seacoast, but boats are suddenly playing a role in the campaign. Swift boats.

Joan Fitz-Gerald’s campaign says that Jared Polis has accepted five donations totaling $6,350 from donors who also gave money to the group that torpedoed Democrat John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004, the Swift Boat and POWs for Truth.

Polis’s campaign responded that Fitz-Gerald has taken oodles of money from energy interests. “It looks more and more like her campaign is a front for the oil and gas industry,” said Polis campaign manager Wanda James in a prepared statement.

The tempest among Democrats may be intended to distract from the favorable publicity that Polis is generating from his recent trip to Iraq. He spent three days in Iraq and three in Jordan on a humanitarian mission. He announced today that he would hold a town meeting at Boulder’s Dairy Center on Wednesday night to discuss his trip.

Fitz-Gerald campaign manager Mary Alice Mandarich said in a release:

“How does Jared reconcile accepting money from people, who not only support the war in Iraq, but did everything they could to destroy John Kerry’s honorable record? First Jared said he would not accept money from lobbyists, but he did. Then he tried to backtrack on his support of vouchers. Now he goes to Iraq to stop the war, but is funding his campaign from people who are perpetuating it. Jared can’t have it both ways.”

Well, at least everyone’s still on a first-name basis.

James countered in her statement:

“We would be happy to compare donors, Joan Fitz-Gerald has taken over $24,000 from Excel employees alone and tens of thousands from oil and gas special interests … Now that the war is unpopular, Joan Fitz-Gerald is trying to pretend like she never supported it or backed President Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Jared Polis has opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, has been to Iraq and is the only candidate with a specific plan to end it.

James also told Colorado Confidential, “This is a ridiculous ploy, and has no bearing on anything.”

Fitz-Gerald and Polis are two of the three Democrats vying for the seat of U.S. Rep. Mark Udall in the August primary.
Several of the five individuals who contributed to the Polis campaign as well as to the Swift Boat campaign against Kerry and seem to be longtime Republican contributors.

The controversy is over donations from five individuals who contributed to the Polis campaign, who contributed to the Swift Boat campaign against Kerry and several of whom seem to be long-time Republican contributors.

Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth was a particularly low point in the U.S. political debate – if debate is the word we want – in which the 527 group charged that Kerry had distorted his Vietnam record and didn’t deserve the medals he was awarded there. The charges were so venal and preposterous that Kerry didn’t even really respond to them for some time, at which point they had gained “traction.” “Swiftboating” has become a verb to designate particularly low political mudslinging.

But the conjunction of Democrats, money and Swift Boats seems too juicy to pass up. The third candidate in the CD-2 race weighed in as well. “While serious Democrats like Will Shafroth are focused on ending the war in Iraq and restoring America’s reputation in the world, it’s a shame any Democrat would raise money from Swiftboaters,” said Shafroth campaign manager Lynea Hansen.

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