Bad Policy, Clever Politics for Victor Mitchell

Victor Mitchell

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell today released a new online ad to jumpstart an idea he has been pushing for a few months now: Going after elected officials who campaign for a new job while maintaining their old position. From a press release:

The Victor Mitchell campaign has unveiled a new web-video explaining his support for a new law that would require Colorado candidates holding full-time state or local elective offices to resign before seeking a higher office. “Taxpayers should not be forced to continue to pay the salaries of officeholders who are seeking promotion to a higher office,” says Mitchell, the businessman and former state legislator. “Campaigning is almost a full-time job these days and we can’t expect an officeholder to run for a different office without neglecting their current office responsibilities.”

“This law would not prevent anyone from seeking any office they choose. It would merely prevent neglect of duty and taxpayer subsidies of campaigners,” continued Mitchell. “I don’t like corporate welfare, and I don’t like welfare for politicians, either.”

“In the same spirit that “Term Limits” has constrained political careerism and TABOR has promoted financial accountability, Resign-To-Run will help keep the political insiders accountable to the people that elect them,” contends Mitchell. “Don’t expect the establishment to embrace this new idea, but I am already seeing that the people of Colorado believe it’s a welcome check on political ambition.”

The web video itself is very well done and could be an effective message for Mitchell. Take a look:

We actually like the strategy of what Mitchell is trying to do here, but we have to point out the unworkability of the policy idea. Requiring elected officials to resign from office if the are running for another elected office isn’t going to solve the alleged problem here of officials who aren’t getting their work done. Frankly, it could make the situation worse.

But, of course, this is an advertisement designed to help Mitchell win a Republican Primary, and to that end it will probably work well. Mitchell doesn’t have the name ID of many of the other top GOP candidates, so he needs to differentiate himself in some way. He does that here with what he doesn’t say: That Republican gubernatorial candidates such as State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman –and, before he dropped out of the race on Monday, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler — are part of the problem while Mitchell is seeking the solution (though in Stapleton’s case, he could just say that he was never showing up to work in the first place).

Positioning yourself as a regular Joe Businessman running against a bunch of career politicians is a tried and true political tactic. With public polling showing consistently that people aren’t particularly happy with their elected officials, this could be the kind of spark that gets Mitchell’s campaign going.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    Since running for office has, as Mitchell notes, become a full time occupation, I imagine that he’s quit working at his businesses he’s now neglecting to pursue his political career?

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    I don't know about an absolute "resign to run" position … but I certainly would be in favor of publishing a calendar showing time blocks of public appointments and all campaign efforts and events.

  3. gaf says:

    So if Mitchell won, and then ran for a second term, his argument says he should resign the office to run his campaign for that second term in office.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Doesn't his brilliant idea only apply to running for higher office?

      And even if it applied to incumbents running for re-election, I am sure that once elected, Mitchell – like Tancredo on his promise to honor a term-limits policy while in the U.S. House – would suddenly realized how indispensable he was and that he would need to renege so he could run for another term.

      • gaf says:

        One sentence refers to "higher office," but another refers to a "different office." But the principle he seems to claim ("neglecting their current office responsibilities") is not different whether it is "higher," "different" or "same."

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