Readers of Colorado Pols are familiar with the many controversies and bizarre behaviors of Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Why, it was just two days ago that we learned Gessler was suing the state's Independent Ethics Commission for investigating him over charges that he uses the office petty cash drawer like his own private wallet. Gessler has been embroiled in one controversy after another, many of his own creation, since he first took office in January 2011 and promptly announced that he wanted to keep working for his law firm because his state-funded $68,500 salary wasn't enough money for his lifestyle.
It's safe to say that there is little Gessler could do at this point that would surprise us, or any other politico for that matter, yet he continues to raise the odd bar. Consider this brief article that appeared on the National Journal website last week:
Popular Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is up for reelection in 2014, and he's done little wrong so far, even in the eyes of his political adversaries. In fact, the biggest obstacle standing between Hickenlooper and a second term might be the governor's fellow Democrats.
That, at least, is what Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler said Thursday in an interview at the Hotline's offices in Washington, D.C. Gessler has been mooted as a potential GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2014; he is one of three Republican statewide elected officials. He said he is planning to run for reelection to his current post. "I'm running for secretary of state" in 2014, Gessler said.
But when asked, as a leading Colorado Republican, to identify what Hickenlooper has done wrong so far in his first term, Gessler demurred.
"I'm hesitant to push any criticism of Hickenlooper right now," Gessler said. "We're going to see, is my answer." [Pols emphasis]
Yes, you read that correctly. Go ahead and read it again, just to be sure. We'll wait…
First off, we should note that we have long listed Gessler on The Big Line as the likely GOP candidate for Governor, and we haven't heard anything to the contrary until now. We don't actually believe that Gessler is going to run for re-election rather than challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2014; Gessler is probably doing this to keep up any buzz or speculation about his 2014 plans, as well as to have more control over a big announcement on a date of his choosing. With no other potential Republican candidates for Governor on the horizon, there's no reason for Gessler to show his cards publicly at this point.
Now…what is really bizarre about this story is the quote highlighted above. "I'm hesitant to push any criticism of Hickenlooper right now," says Gessler. What is the purpose of not taking an opportunity to paint Hickenlooper as a bad Governor? Is Gessler trying to damage Hickenlooper's image by not speaking ill of the Governor? Geez, if Gessler doesn't have a problem with Hickenlooper, Democrats must really hate him! It sounds completely absurd, but Gessler does most of his work in that theater.
What say you, Polsters? What in the hell is going on here?