Shadow-Boxing Senator Jones

Things are downright eerie in one of the top targeted races for the state senate in Colorado Springs this year, where Democrat John Morse is taking on incumbent Sen. Ed Jones.

Or more precisely, Morse is looking for Ed Jones. “He’s just been a ghost.”And that’s likely exactly what Morse suspects Sen. Jones has planned between now and November. Elected four years ago in  a squeaker of a race,  Jones, a conservative African-American has, to name just a few, sponsored legislation to ban affirmative action, voted against establishing a commission for health care reform and opposed purchase pools for prescription drugs.

He has even voted against a bill that would have set up a system to notify parents when their children’s immunizations come due.

“Good grief, why would you vote against a bill like that?” asks Morse, who is currently on leave from his job as executive director of Silver Key, which provides services to seniors. “He’s got some pretty horrific votes and I don’t think he wants to get up in front of constituents and admit some of his votes.”

Senate District 11 includes much of central, south, southeast and the west side of Colorado Springs, and is fairly evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. At the end of last month, Jones reported only $3,260 in the bank, compared to Morse’s $12,433. 

And last Thursday, Jones skipped one of the only candidates’ forums in Colorado Springs so far scheduled for legislative – sponsored by the Colorado Springs Black/Latino Leadership Coalition, which is co-chaired by his brother-in-law, District 11 school board member Willie Breazell.

A Morse supporter actually put a scarecrow in Jones’ empty seat, which Jones’ campaign manager Sarah Jack called “really crossing the line.”

“You’re going to have to spend a lot of time convincing me that’s not mean-spirited,” she said. “We have not taken any shots at John Morse.”

Jack says that her candidate missed the forum because he already had plans to participate in a coordinated precinct walk with gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez – where he was able to reach out to hundreds of voters instead of only 30 or so that were at the forum. Jones, she says, is aware that his stance against affirmative action is not popular among many in the minority community, but “he doesn’t run away from that vote.”

“He feels strongly that he had every opportunity and he didn’t need it; it’s not just blacks, but Hispanics or women, he believes that affirmative action gives unfair advantage,” Jack said.

As for the state of Jones’ lean bank account, Jack said that next month’s reporting period will reflect a much higher amount of revenues – as much as $28,000. Jones’ current low cash on hand, Jack says, merely reflects that much of the money went into Republican primary races – and Jones did not have an opponent.

Both Morse and Jack say the candidates fully expect to be attacked by 527 groups between now and November – providing the campaigns to themselves be able to claim ignorance.

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Cara Degette

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