An interesting story out of Trinidad today, courtesy the Denver Direct blog:
Representative Wes McKinley, (D) Walsh, is running for re-election to his 4th, term-limited stint. As usual, he visits local fairs and celebrations to talk to his constituents. His Republican opponent this time is Lisa Kellogg, a California lawyer who visited Colorado as a child, and now claims an address in Walsenburg. It’s hard to figure out what the heck she is doing in HD64…
Kellogg, who had earlier categorized McKinley as an “entertainer” and a “character”, apparently has decided that she needed an entertainer of her own. Her campaign spent $1000 to hire actor Ermal Williamson to travel from his home in Branson, Missouri to Trinidad to campaign on her behalf. Despite not really looking like “the Duke”, Ermal did his best to imitate John Wayne’s style and walk. His comments to McKinley were really over the top, as when he confronted McKinley face-to-face, when leaving the rodeo earlier, about his “court date” for being “found guilty of sexual harassment.” When I talked to Ermal, he denied making those comments, and didn’t even know what House District Kellogg was running in…
Kellogg’s entry into HD64 politics reportedly has some local Republicans scared. Some have contacted McKinley with offers to help defeat her with funding and advertising. The citizens of HD64, who elected McKinley in 2008 with 76% of the vote, are apparently not falling for the California hype. Some think it’s funny, but others are incensed, calling it degrading.
Bad John Wayne impersonators on the campaign trail are one thing, and obviously we can’t verify anything asserted here about Republicans offering to help defeat her, but we did a little homework on Lisa Grace Kellogg, and she’s kind of an interesting case. Kellogg is married to a judge in California, Michael Kellogg, who is himself up for re-election this year. Lisa Grace Kellogg is in fact registered to vote both in Walsenburg and her Agoura Hills, California address. Kellogg and her husband, neither of whom have any real roots in the state, bought the local newspaper, the Huerfano World–and reportedly moved the newsroom to California before selling the paper back to local owners. The new owners immediately rectified this situation.
A July, 2008 article in the World says that “the couple also has a ranch in Malibu, where they spend most of their time.” In January, Ms. Kellogg made a donation to Bob McConnell’s congressional campaign, and listed her California residence as her address–months after she had filed to run for the Colorado legislature. According to Denver Direct, Kellogg has barely raised $1,000 in campaign contributions, with the vast majority of her $50,000 coming from her own pocket.
Rep. Wes McKinley, who we’ve extolled in this space as the “Cowboy Democrat” important to the party’s rural success, has had a little trouble recently, the details of which have not been fully disclosed. But for the real-deal McKinley to be up against a candidate so inauthentic that she has to fly in a John Wayne impersonator, has no real support whatsoever (that shows up on the bottom line, anyway), and can’t decide if she’d rather be known as a resident of Walsenburg where she’s running for office, or Malibu where she spends “most of her time,” could be a lucky break.