Hasan-Scanlan race turns ugly in its waning days

A high-profile and highly costly state House race notable for its bizarre twists and turns — restraining orders requested and dropped, vows of celibacy — has taken a turn toward the ugly in the final days before Tuesday’s election.

First, a prominent moderate Republican in Eagle County fired off a letter to the Vail Daily late last month questioning the resume of Republican House District 56 candidate Ali Hasan, prompting Hasan to send in an equally pointed response to Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County.

“Still living at home at age 28 in the Beaver Creek manse, Mom and Dad probably told him it was time to finally get a real job,” Cohen wrote of Hasan, whose father is an HMO mogul with a massive house in the tony gated resort. “I’m all for young adults taking time to find themselves, but collecting job titles like baseball cards doesn’t cut it when we’re talking about serious public-policy work.

“Hasan’s ideas are impossibly naive. And one has to wonder if prominent state Republicans who are captured in his ‘grip and grin’ endorsement ads are really doing nothing more that ‘taking one for the team.’ They’ve got to be thinking what many of us registered Republicans are: ‘Couldn’t we have done better?’”

Hasan, who’s running against incumbent Democrat Christine Scanlan of Dillon, shot back, both in a letter and then an article in the Vail Daily on Friday, that his resume — filmmaker, teacher, land developer, environmental scientist, Muslim political pundit — is not at all overblown.

Calling his independent study degree in environmental science from Occidental College “pretty much the equivalent of a major,” Hasan said Cohen is a longtime political rival with an axe to grind. “While I did not appreciate Don Cohen’s letter, I do appreciate him giving me the opportunity to clear the record,” Hasan wrote. “Thank you for reading!”