Citing Musgrave smear tactics, Republicans come out for Markey

Democrat challenger Betsy Markey speaks during the first debate between with incumbent Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. (Photo/Jason Kosena)
Democrat challenger Betsy Markey speaks during the first debate between with incumbent Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. (Photo/Jason Kosena)

Three prominent northern Colorado Republicans threw their support behind Democrat Betsy Markey today, including former U.S. Rep. Jim Johnson, former state Rep. Bill Kaufman and former Republican Party Committee member Betty Ehn. Markey is running against three-term incumbent Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave for the 4th Congressional District.

Johnson, who was elected to Congress in the 4th CD in 1972 and served until 1981, cited recent attack advertising by Musgrave that claimed Markey could serve jail time for government contracts her family business, Syscom Services, received while Markey was employed by U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar. The allegations against Markey have been proven untrue by media and the Government Services Agency, led by Republican appointees made by President Bush.

“Though I intended to vote for Betsy Markey, I hadn’t planned on making a public statement about it,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “Admittedly both sides have run tough, negative ads about the other, but the Musgrave campaign has violated whatever is left of campaign ethics by accusing Markey of being a criminal. That’s too much! Musgrave wants the election so badly she has lost her way, her sense of propriety, her very decency. Surely Colorado 4th District voters haven’t become so blasé about nasty campaigns that they will tolerate this kind of childish, petulant, mean spirited campaigning.”

Kaufman, a Loveland Republican who served in the state House representing much of Larimer County from 1992 through 2000, including serving as speaker pro-tem from 1999 to 2000, said it was time for a change from Musgrave.

“I’ve lived in the Fourth Congressional District for 32 years and I’ve been a Republican all my life,” Kaufman said in the same statement. “I’m disappointed in Marilyn Musgrave. Betsy Markey represents and cares more about mainstream American values, and she will work hard in Congress to represent those values. She will fight to keep businesses strong and will drive reforms to get our economy back on track. She deserves our vote.”

Ehn, a Greeley community activist and former Republican Party Committee member, said despite her lifelong standing as a Republican, she will vote against Musgrave this year. She has consistently opposed Musgrave since Musgrave’s first election to Congress in 2002.

“In a series of smear tactics and mud-slinging, Musgrave lost my support and a good deal of my respect for my own Party,” Ehn said. “I publicly supported her Democratic opponent that year. While I did not choose to do so in the two years that followed, I have chosen to endorse Betsy Markey as a candidate for the Fourth Congressional District this November. Betsy is an experienced, moderate candidate. But more importantly, she is a good person.”

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