Democrat Christine Scanlan Monday questioned the ethics of Kaye Ferry, campaign director for Scanlan’s Republican opponent in the House District 56 race, writing a weekly column in the Vail Daily newspaper.
Colorado Independent last week broke the story that Muhammad Ali Hasan of Beaver Creek had hired the controversial former director of the Vail Chamber and Business Association as his campaign director.
The outspoken Ferry resigned her Chamber post in April in the wake of comments she made to Colorado Independent about the influx of “Front Range riff-raff” likely to result from Vail Resorts’ new discounted Epic Pass season ski pass. She subsequently increased the frequency of her Vail Daily column to once a week from every two weeks and said she would no longer have to hold back in her political commentary.
“If she’s writing opinion pieces on issues that are a part of the state race that he’s also advocating, I think that is a conflict,” Scanlan said Monday. “I think that can get a little sticky.”
Scanlan added her campaign director, Jennifer Cassel, does not write a regular column for the Summit Daily News in Scanlan’s central mountain hometown of Dillon, or any other local publication. “I’ll ask her if maybe she should,” Scanlan joked.
Vail Daily editor Alex Miller said regular columnists for the paper who decide to run for office, such as Hasan himself, are typically asked to take a leave of absence during the campaign.
“In Kaye’s case, I didn’t think it was necessary, given her typical focus on Vail goings-on and the relatively small amount of intersection between a House rep (much less a candidate) and the individual towns,” Miller said. “So long as Kaye isn’t promoting any of Hasan’s points of view in her column, I don’t see a conflict. And, of course, she’s not the candidate.”
House District 56 includes Eagle, Summit and Lake counties. Scanlan was appointed to fill Democrat Dan Gibbs’ seat when Gibbs took over for then-state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, who resigned to run for Congressman Mark Udall’s seat.
Udall is now the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Republican Bob Schaffer to replace Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican who is retiring after two terms.
Ferry and Hasan did not return calls requesting comment Monday.