Perry Haney Withdraws From CD-6 Race Following GOP Complaint

UPDATE: Kurtis Lee of the Denver paper breaks: Perry Haney will withdraw from the CD-6 race, leaving state Rep. Joe Miklosi as the Democratic contender and ending the primary.

Republicans may be kicking themselves over this legal challenge. We thought it was a smart strategic move to go after Haney by Republicans, because publicly attacking him helps the average voter to think that he is the stronger of the two Democrats running for the seat (the other being Rep. Joe Miklosi). Despite Miklosi’s faults, which we’ve documented here, he is absolutely a better candidate than the unknown and underfunded Haney.

But in the end, the GOP’s attacks probably made Haney’s quixotic run more trouble than it was worth.  

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The Colorado Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission last week, alleging that CD-3 CD-6 Democratic self-funding candidate Perry Haney spent thousands of dollars on a run for Congress “somewhere in Colorado” before appropriately filing with the FEC. From the letter sent by Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call:

Perry Haney for Congress is an authorized committee of Perry Haney, a candidate for the House of Representatives in the Colorado 6th Congressional District.  Haney filed a Form 2 Statement of Candidacy with the FEC on October 27, 2011, and an amended Form 2 Statement of Candidacy on December 14, 2011.  The Committee filed a Form 1 Statement of Organization with the FEC on October 27, 2011, listing the Committee’s name as Perry Haney for Congress Exploratory Committee.  An amended Form 1 Statement of Organization was filed on December 14, 2011, changing the name to Perry Haney for Congress…

An individual becomes a candidate and triggers registration and reporting responsibilities under the Act when campaign activity exceeds $5,000 in either contributions or expenditures.  2 USC § 431(2).  A candidate must file a Form 2 Statement of Candidacy within 15 days of becoming a candidate.  2 USC § 432(e)(1).  Within 10 days after it has been designated by the candidate, the principal campaign committee must register by filing with the FEC.  2 USC § 433(a).

The regulations permit an individual who has not decided to run for office to raise funds to “test the waters” and explore the viability of becoming a candidate.  11 CFR § 100.72, 11 CFR § 100.131.  An individual solely engaging in testing the waters activities does not have to register or report as a candidate, even if the individual raises or spends more than $5,000 on these activities.  Testing the waters activities include conducting a poll, making telephone calls and traveling, but only if undertaken to determine whether an individual should become a candidate.   11 CFR § 100.72, 11 CFR § 100.131.

However, once an individual engages in campaign activity, if he or she has raised or spent more than $5,000, the individual must register as a candidate with the FEC.

In short, candidates are permitted some wiggle room between beginning the process of “testing the waters” to enter a congressional race and formally doing so. The problem for Haney, as Call and GOP attorneys allege, is that Haney’s promotional efforts as a potential CD-3 candidate over the summer go well beyond merely “testing the waters.” Call says that Haney was possibly in violation upon receipt of more than $5,000 in July of last year, and by the time a “Haney for Congress” video was uploaded to Youtube at the end of last August, very likely so.

We’re withholding judgment on this complaint pending further analysis, as some of the circumstances here are novel–we’re not sure, for example, how the fact that Haney was not yet running for a specific race (or, at the very least, looking at a different race than the one he ultimately chose) might affect the application of the law. We’re not election lawyers.

But we’ll say this: Haney’s lurking on the margins of two congressional races last year, and having filed the proper paperwork for the race he chose months after his “exploratory” period began, is a wide-open target for Republicans on both a messaging and legal harassment level. To whatever extent Haney becomes a serious candidate, he’s going to be hit with the charge of having shopped for a congressional race irrespective of experience or community ties. Haney had better develop good answers to these questions, or he’s going nowhere.

27 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ArapaGOP says:

    I’m glad to see you taking this complaint seriously even though it concerns a Democrat.

    That said, doesn’t everything you said apply equally to Brandon Shaffer? Perhaps not since he chickened out, but if Shaffer had jumped to CD-6, you’d be left with nothing to attack Perry Haney for.

    Community ties. NO CD-6 Democrat candidate, in this race or merely considered, can claim them. Only Coffman.

    I see the Big Line is now moving towards accuracy in CD-6 too.

  2. ArapaGOP says:

    How about a “good job Ryan Call?”

    Whether he did Dems a favor or was just pursuing accountability, give him some credit.

  3. Half Glass Full says:

    His thinly-disguised, taxpayer-financed campaign material masquerading as a “jobs fair” promotion shows that Coffman is corrupt and unworthy of re-election.

    I don’t hear a thing from Coffman until now, when an election is on the horizon. Then the glossy mailings with Coffman’s smiling face and partisan prattle commence. On my nickel.

    Ugh.  

  4. Libertad 2.0 says:

    Now all Miklosi needs is a (much) better campaign, (lots) more money, and a poorer opponent.

    What a shit show this race has been for the Dems.

    • BlueCat says:

      with some luck and more prep time.

      • Libertad 2.0 says:

        Miklosi has been running in this race for months and months. He’s had tons of prep time. The problem is that when Democrats were performing quite well in the redistricting efforts (read as: luck) they were ignoring the elephant in the room of Miklosi’s awful campaign.

        Joe is a great guy, and he’s been a good representative for HD-9 for the last two years. But he just wasn’t ready for prime time, and the Democrats did a terrible job trying to find a candidate in the district who could compete in a highly targeted Congressional race.

        You’re right about one thing though, next time can be better. If the Dems don’t screw it up.

        • BlueCat says:

          was final.  And really the kind of prep time I mean is time for some stronger candidate, one who is ready for prime time, to decide it’s worth the effort and start building cred far in advance. Clearly, nobody like that found the prospects for this first post-redistricting election featuring a not particularly disliked or scandal plagued incumbent worth the effort.  Conditions could possibly be different for 2014.

          If, for instance, Coffman decides to decline to run again in order to run for something else, leaving the seat open.  That could attract a power house candidate and serious national level targeting. So could some other landscape changing set of circumstances.  I don’t think there was time for the thing to sufficiently gel this time around.

          • Libertad 2.0 says:

            he didn’t want to run.

            The Dems put all of their redistricting eggs into the CD-6 basket, and they couldn’t find a decent candidate. They’ve been scrambling to find a decent candidate to run in this district for a long time now, and nobody has materialized.

            What I’m trying to say is maybe they should have looked and seen if there was a good candidate before trying to make CD-6 the district to go all-in on in 2012.

  5. Gray in Mountains says:

    to bail

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