It’s getting late in the election season, and major media outlets are still mostly overlooking the most important races in the state—in the swing senate districts that will determine whether Democrats gain control of the state senate and with it the reins of Colorado government.
When the major media bow out, the public is left to rely on campaign information, questionnaires, and small publications to fill the candidate-information void.
The problem is, some candidates easily and quietly blow off information requests, leaving the public with no idea where they stand.
For example, Out Front just came out with a story on the positions of key state senate candidates on LGBT issues.
One focus of the piece was the swing Senate District 26 race between Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty, a Republican, and Democratic State Rep. Daniel Kagan.
Kagan answered questions from Out Front, and returned a questionnaire from One Colorado on LGBTIQ issues.
Doty, however, did not.
“I reached out to [Doty] by email and gave her a few phone calls as well, which she never returned,” said Ryan Howe, Digital Content Director for Out Front.
Howe told me he didn’t report Doty’s refusal to respond, in part, because Doty also refused to return a questionnaire from One Colorado, a LGBTIQ rights group. And Howe’s story referenced One Colorado’s endorsement of Kagan, Howe pointed out.
One Colorado Political Director Laura “Pinky” Reinsch told me Doty did not respond to three email requests to return her organization’s questionnaire.
Major media would obviously have a better shot at getting Doty’s attention. But with no coverage, voters are forced to grasp at shards of information and infer a candidate’s stance, in this case on LGBT issues.
While Kagan’s LGBT views are clear in his responses, one thing we know about Doty is she once gave money to Rick Santorum, who’s aggressively opposed to same-sex marriage, saying it’s unnatural, among other awful things.
“For me, when you say the states have the right to define marriage, it’s like saying, well, the states have the right to redefine the chemical equation for water, it can be H3O instead of H2O,” said Santorum earlier this year.
The point is, the down-ballot state senate races are really important, and we need the major media outlets to make sure the basic information is on the table for voters.