Pinball, chickens and father-daughter duets: inside three gubernatorial candidates’ cribs


[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ILLENIAL generation political advocacy group, reGENERATION Colorado, released a video last week offering viewer-voters of all ages an intimate peek into three of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates’ homes: Tom Tancredo’s suburban Lakewood mini-mansion, Scott Gessler’s Denver city house, and Mike Kopp’s sprawling Golden farmlette.

As the producers take care to note, Republican candidate Bob Beauprez said no to a visit to his buffalo ranch and incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper kept closed the crib that started it all, a.k.a the Governor’s Mansion.

Former state Capitol staffer Sami Davis hosts the program, guiding us through the three candidates’ homes in a tight ten minute segment. The piece is light on politics and heavy on personality, though the two aren’t so easily separated.

City mouse

Gessler lives in a tasteful, historic brick home near downtown Denver — a private abode that bears the political traces of his urban roots and Ivy League education. There’s a pond in the backyard by which his wife is gardening and his two small kids are playing in a pop-up tent. Inside the family has hung heirloom prints by an artistic, homesteading maternal grandfather. There’s also an inarguably cute clip of Gessler and his daughter doing a quick duet on the piano. It’s a softer portrait of Colorado’s “Honey Badger” than we’ve ever seen. That is, until he starts explaining the nickname.

“The honey badger is known as a relentless, persistent animal and it fights poisonous snakes. So if I’m the honey badger, the other side, they’re the poisonous snakes…”

Country mouse

White picket fences literally surround the green lawns leading to Kopp’s semi-rural five bedroom farmhouse. He and his wife, Shannon, greet Davis at the door, wearing coordinated aprons for their afternoon of cooking Irish stew.

Kopp has been playing the nice-guy, Colorado-brand overachiever on the campaign trail — a persona he also touts at home, where he and his son have built a hutch for four fancy, egg-laying chickens, as well as a little hive for some docile, Italian bees. When Davis asks him what he’d do to the beer taps Hickenlooper has installed in the Governor’s mansion, Kopp dodges by saying he’s not sure the Governor’s mansion could be as fun as his bucolic suburban farm.

Motorcycle mouse

Tancredo, believed to be the current frontrunner in the GOP gubernatorial primary, upheld his reputation as the volatile wild card. His large Lakewood McMansion has a two vintage pinball machines and a luxurious wine cellar — a replica of which he said he’d install in the Governor’s mansion in place of Hick’s notorious beer taps. Tancredo also shows off a kitchen drawer in which spices are organized in alphabetical order. The political message here? Unclear, other than maybe he’s trying to show he’s no schlump. In true form, Tancredo closes his clip by motoring off into the west on a gold-painted Harley Davidson.



In each segment, Davis asked the three candidates who gave her access a specific question: ” My generation is really looking for opportunity. As governor, how do you plant to bring opportunity to Colorado.” It’s a worthwhile ask, especially in light of Pew research indicating that while Millennials are the most progressive era in a generation, their lean to the left is waning in the face of a difficult job market.

Unfortunately, Davis’s quest for policy insight fizzled in just about every house. Which is to say that, perhaps as intended, her video revealed far more about house & garden than it did about any real political meat and potatoes. Tancredo and Kopp both said what they’ve said countless times on the stump — that less government equals more opportunity. Meanwhile, Gessler went with a surprisingly Hickenlooper-sounding sound bite, asserting that education is the first priority, followed by a roaring economy. There was little time in the video for candidates to elaborate on said policies.

Whether their home lives — or what they’re projecting of their home lives — will have any impact on the June 24th primary remains to be seen. But in an era of media-phobic politicians and a year marked by a pretty tight-lipped four-pack of GOP gubernatorial candidates, Davis deserves props for getting in the door.