As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports on the continuing decline of Club 20–a Western Slope county-based boosterism group whose annual conference was once a regular stop for candidates in election years, but lost relevance as the group’s internal politics skewed right:
The Democrat in the race for the 3rd Congressional District, Diane Mitsch Bush, is the latest to announce that she’s not planning to attend the Sept. 19 candidate debates during the Western Slope advocacy group’s annual fall conference…
Mitsch Bush is the second biggest named candidate to decline attending after former Gov. John Hickenlooper turned down Club 20’s invitation last month, mirroring what now Gov. Jared Polis did in his 2018 gubernatorial bid.
The two aren’t alone. Seth Cagin, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, for House District 58, also said he won’t attend, saying there’s nothing to benefit…
Back in 2018, now-Gov. Jared Polis’ decision to skip the Club 20 conference was greeted with ominous handwringing from the local pundit class. But despite the warnings that this “affront to the Western Slope” would hurt Polis in the general election, the results in 2018 only helped demonstrate that Club 20’s influence as an organization is on the wane.
In 2020, it’s just a reality to accept:
“The group has been in a serious decline for some time because of their old politics,” [Pols emphasis] [Mesa County Democratic Party vice-chair Scott] Beilfuss said. “While it’s easy for Front Range candidates to swing by and kiss the ring, there is rarely anything of consequence that comes out of their meetings.”
The one thing we will say in Club 20’s favor this year is that for the first time ever, the political debates that do take place at their annual conference will actually be livestreamed so what happens inside the room might possibly be learned about by those, you know, outside it. That’s a positive development, but with so many other ways candidates have to directly reach voters in every part of the state, there’s just no reason to treat this organization as some kind of regional gatekeeper. There hasn’t been in years.
If candidates want to stump at Club 20, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s fine too.
Either way, it’s just another club.