U.S. congressional candidate Joan Fitz-Gerald calls the substantial financial contributions by a prominent Republican family from Beaver Creek to the campaign of her chief Democratic rival, Jared Polis, a case of “strange bedfellows.”
The Beaver Creek family of Ali Hasan, Republican candidate for state House District 56, has contributed at least $13,800 to Polis, a millionaire Internet entrepreneur whose family owns a slope-side home in the Golden Peak area of nearby Vail. Hasan’s father, Malik Hasan, a neurologist turned managed-care mogul, and mother, heavy-hitting GOP fund-raiser Seeme Gull Hasan, have both chipped in the maximum allowable individual contribution of $2,300 to Polis’ Aug. 12 primary campaign against Fitz-Gerald and Will Shafroth in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.
Both elder Hasans donated the same amount to Polis’ general-election campaign if he wins the primary, and Ali Hasan’s sister, Aliya, also contributed the maximum to both his primary- and general-election campaigns. Hasan, 28, a self-described conservative Muslim cowboy running against incumbent Democrat Christine Scanlan for the state House, hasn’t contributed to the Polis campaign, but says his family’s support is “not ‘strange’ at all really.”
“I am supporting the [Republican] Party’s ticket, but I can confirm that many family members of mine have contributed to Polis and are quite proud of it,” Ali Hasan said by e-mail, referring to his personal backing of CD2 Republican nominee Scott Starin.
“We deeply love Eagle County, and it means a lot to us that Jared Polis has invested so much in building a school here in Gypsum [the New America School for recent immigrants] that has deeply helped many people here in the community,” said Hasan, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Pakistan.
While very pro-business and clearly conservative on many traditional GOP issues, Hasan said in an earlier interview that he was motivated to run for the state Legislature because Democrats have failed to carry through on a progressive agenda since winning majorities in both houses in 2004.
“There’s no civil union that’s legalized, there’s no gay marriage that’s legalized, there’s no guest worker program, there are no bills that have been passed that would help us bring in more seasonal workers, there’s been very little that’s been done that would help us address the poverty that we’re seeing in our barrios and ghettos, there hasn’t been any changes to our criminal justice system,” he said.
“When you look at the fact that someone can go to jail over marijuana possession, right there that’s killing the family structure in some of our most low-income areas. And on the other hand you can drive drunk and you’re not going to go to jail.”
Asked if that means he would push for such measures if elected to the state House, he said, “I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a proponent of all of that, but I’m supportive of some of those things, but it depends on how the legislation is written. They’re sensitive things.”