Conservative Running for Denver City Council Has Some Explaining To Do

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Denver City Council races are supposed to be all sweet and nonpartisany, and part of me really wishes they could be that way. But if you want to get a full pictures of a candidate, you’d be stupid to ignore their partisan history. Here’s a case in point.

District 10 candidate Wayne New, who changed his voter registration from Republican to unaffiliated in March, is distributing an ad spotlighting a “woman’s right to choose” among his top priorities. The mailer reads (See below.):

 The City Council Campaign has focused on the critical issues of over-development, traffic, parking, and the voice of the people in key City decisions. Just as important is sharing with you what I believe. I believe in:

…A woman’s right to choose, ensuring that women have access to all reproductive healthcare services.

The advertisement doesn’t tell you that New contributed $250 to Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner in August of last year.

Of course New’s mailer is silent about this. Anyone who’s politically conscious knows that 1) donating money to Cory Gardner and 2) having a woman’s right to choose as one of your top priorities are 3) mutually exclusive.

Cory Gardner, now our U.S. Senator, made anti-choice legislation a centerpiece of his rise to political power, earning high praise for years from hard-line anti-choice groups, which helped him win over Republicans.

Once Gardner won his Republican primary, and began courting moderate voters across the state, he promptly abandoned his longstanding support for  Colorado’s personhood amendment, which would have banned all abortion, even for rape and incest, as well as some forms of birth control.

Gardner, you recall, also sponsored a federal personhood bill that would have banned abortion nationally. Apparently not wanting to part ways with anti-choice supporters in Washington, Gardner refused to remove his name from the federal personhood bill, despite having dumped the state version.

Gardner drove reporters nuts by refusing to acknowledge the existence of the federal personhood bill, even though he was a co-sponsor of it! Watch this amazing video of Gardner, and let me know how New could possibly support this guy, if choice is truly so important to him.

Remember, the apologists for Gardner, like The Denver Post’s editorial page, which also endorsed Wayne New, said choice isn’t so important nowadays. If only this were true. (Think Texas.)

In any case, Gardner’s victory over pro-choice Sen. Mark Udall was a tragedy for the pro-choice movement, and if you gave money to Gardner, you are complicit in that tragedy.

That’s why Wayne New’s partisan history matters. And it goes beyond choice.

“I have watched Charley Brown and Jeannie Faatz, two other UTR [Under The Radar] Republicans cast reactionary and negative votes against many of the progressive ideas that have come before City Council,” emailed Tom Hart, a resident of Congress Park with ties to the community that go back 50 years. “I don’t think the voters in this district want to elect obstructionists to the City Council at this important time in Denver’s development.  There are certain key aspects of the Republican philosophy that would make it hard for New to vote the will of the majority of voters in this district.”

(Click here to see some of New’s other GOP donations: Mitt Romney, John McCain, and the Republican National Committee.)

Sorry to be a buzz kill for anyone who thinks partisanship should be left to the whisper gallery in Denver’s District 10 City Council race. But if a guy like Wayne New is going to claim to be a pro-choice leader, and he’s claiming to hold  other progressive ideas, he needs to explain why he donated to Cory Gardner.

Correction: This blog post initially listed Wayne New as a “registered Republican.” In fact, he changed is party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated in March.

[Disclosure: I support New’s District 10 opponent, Anna Jones, though I live outside the district.]

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Not Dame Edna2 says:

    Couple of things, Wayne New is not the only Republican left running for City Council. In Council District 2, that's Southwest Denver, we have John Kidd. Mr. Kidd is no under the radar Republican and neither is the outgoing council member for District 2, Jeanne Fatz who has endorsed Mr. Kidd. 

    I'm tired of SW Denver being ignored, even here we don't seem to count. Hopefully a fresh voice from Democrat Kevin Flynn can bring some attention down here.

    Best wishes to Anna Jones in District 10, Republicans don't speak for the majority of Denver residents and they don't belong on our City Council.

  2. Jason Salzman says:

    This blog post initially listed Wayne New as a "registered Republican." In fact, he changed is party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated in March.

  3. FrankUnderwood says:

    Doesn't council district 10 include Capitol Hill?  One wonders about New's positions on LGBTQ issues.

  4. mamajama55 says:

    There are always new Republicans running to "replace the left", as they see it, from the lowest to the highest levels of political office. This was Gingrich's strategy in 2010 – but it was based on the idea that Republicans actually wanted to govern, and were capable of creating a culture of "jobs and paychecks" to bring the economy back from ruin. We know how that didn't work out.

    So this stealth tactic – of running an ostensibly moderate (but really extreme neocon) candidate to replace a progressive one, is one implementation of an overall neocon strategy.

    Since 2008, there has been a more or less implicit recognition that Republicans have no working plan to build the American economy, and so must rely on lying and manipulation  to sell their brand to the American public

    .The Rove propaganda techniques, many of which we've read from our own GOP apologists on this board, are its latest incarnation.


  5. ccschomp says:

    Jason, I think you're dead wrong about Wayne New – and since you don't live in Denver District 10, I resent your effort to smear a good and thoughtful candidate on the basis of issues that have little bearing on a city election (abortion, LGBTQ). I have known Wayne New for several years and worked with him closely in his capacity as a member of Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods and as president of Cherry Creek North Neighborhood Association. I also was an unsuccessful candidate for City Council 12 years ago running against Jeanne Robb, who also had been a Republican that changed her registration. I am a Democrat and have never voted for a Republican, to my knowledge. Former District 10 CAthy Donohue and I both have endorsed Wayne New. I will vote for Wayne  because he is thoughtful, willing to listen, careful, and a man of integrity. He shares my values – including on LGBTQ issues, and women's issues. In contrast to his opponent, Wayne has supported a measured approach to development in District 10. He has consistently asked for traffic and parking studies. He is not anti-development, as he has been characterized. He is for thoughtful development that honors existing neighborhoods as well as the needs of a growing city. Wayne isn't in anyone's pocket and his support of Cory Gardner – which I believe was misguided and unfortunate – does not have any bearing at all on how he will deal with city issues. I think Wayne's background as a hospital executive is much more relevant, actually. He knows how to read a budget and a balance sheet, more of which we could use on Denver City Council. If people are worried about the pace of overdevelopment in Denver, worried about traffic, parking and infrastructure issues, they should look carefully at Wayne New, who I think has the correct position on these issues.

    • OrangeFree says:

      "measure approach to development" "thoughtful development" "pace of overdevelopment"

      Can the double speak. Wayne New is anti-development and would be disaster for District 10, and the city as whole if he wins. 

      • ccschomp says:

        Have you met him? Have you talked with him? Have you worked with him? I have. A lot. And I know that he is not anti-development. He worked on Cherry Creek North zoning and helped to formulate a solution that got both neighborhood residents and the developers to agree. It is not doublespeak (whatever the hell that is). He just doesn't believe that development should occur without neighborhood input and careful study of all the factors that figure in, such as whether there's transit available, how it will affect traffic and parking in the area and even what it will do to the available sunlight.

        Don't take potshots if you can't back them up with facts.

        • thart875 says:

          Those items you list are all things that the City Community Development Department and Planing Commission consider.  Anna Jones has been a leader on the Planning Commission in pressing for quality development and she has the experience and knowledge of the planning process to navigate the tough waters between neighborhood concerns and what's best for the City at large.  New is being promoted by the people in Cherry Creek north that somehow, now don't like the development taking place.  Yet most of those people are consumers of the denser housing and Macmansions that perviously transformed that neighborhood.  I think we need our own Rodeo Drive in  Denver to be a great City, and it looks like Cherry Creek is the spot.

    • Molly Brown says:

      1 – You're right, abortion has little or no place in a City Council election, so I think the attempted connections in this post are reachy

      2 – New is the one who inserted abortion into the election with this type of mailer, which was clearly misguided

      3 – New just happens to ALSO be wrong about the biggest issue in the district – development – something that Anna Jones is correspondingly strong on

      Not that we have to argue about this, since Anna won't be splitting the true progressive vote in a runoff and will almost certainly win.

      -District 10 resident


    • Jason Salzman says:

      Hey Carolyn, this blog post is just an opinion, not journalism. And it's a legitimate opinion. So I don't get why you think it's a smear.

      It's reasonable for me to think that someone who gave money to Cory Gardner can't be trusted to support my views on a whole bunch of issues, especially choice, since Gardner promoted extreme anti-choice positions, including his own legislation, throughout his political career. Environment, immigration, etc., as well.

      I don't understand how Wayne New could support Cory Gardner, especially in August of last year, when Wayne News gave Gardner his check, if Wayne New supports the positions you claim he does. I'm glad to hear of your positive experience with Wayne News, but his support of Gardner, who defeated Mark Udall, doesn't compute with what you write. 

      You may disagree with me, but at least allow me to have this legitimate opinion without accusing me of engineering a smear campaign. Thanks.

    • thart875 says:

      Carolyn wants to describe New's positions in the vague terms that will not give voters a clear picture of what the candidate represents.  New has responded to a number of interview questions with vague answers that sound palatable to Denver's progressive voters but when it gets to the details, his answers amount to nothing more than more Repbublican "do nothing slogans".  What really is his position on the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance approved by Council?  Would he support it, work to make it effective as one tool in addressing our great affordable housing challenge?  How would he vote on the public financing package for the National Western Center?   I want a council representative for my District that has values that get translated into progressive votes to sustain the many positive elements Denver has right now.  Could anyone list the achievements of Jeannie Faatz or Charlie Brown.  We don't need naysayers, we need visionaries and doers. 

    • Voyageur says:

      Surely, Caroline, you remember doublespeak from 1984.  Personally, I lean to Duckspeak, another Orwellian term, which I used as my column title in college.

      As a District 10 resident, I and my wife both voted for Jones.   A lot of my neighbors who backed other candidates in the first round seem ready to switch to Jones.  

      And don't accuse Jason of a Smear.   That's a lot of Papwink

  6. d davies denver says:

    I know that Denver City Council is a nonpartisan race and I respect that. Yes, Denver leans left and most residents and most successful city candidates are Democrats but I’m good with the district’s selection regardless of affiliation as long as the candidate is the person they say they are and stand for what they stand for.

    For the record I’m an active and registered Democrat, a 16 year resident of District 10 and didn’t have a “take” on the Denver City Council race until I met Anna Jones. I liked her very soon after meeting her but I like to do my homework.  A little investigative work and I found a 2005 piece in Westword. This piece sealed the deal for me: 

    Anna is everything I want in a City Council rep – she has the story, the roots and she is who she is and walks her talk. Based on her campaign and work history she will be hardworking responsive, thoughtful and open-minded – for me, nuff said – I’m happily in Anna’s camp.  

    Second, for the record I have had nothing against Wayne New. What I don’t like is when a person or a campaign overtly attempts to shift, shade or outright change the record because it is expedient at the moment. What that indicates to me is someone who is willing to shift, shade or change going forward and that is not what I want in my City Council rep – regardless of political affiliation.

  7. Voyageur says:

    People can and do change, I was a registered Republican for 33 years.   But a man who backed Cory Gardner against Mark Udall will have a hard time explaining to me that he stands for women's rights and respects the LGBT community.  Gardner is hard-core Tea Party, albeit with a smiley face.  New has some splainin  to do!

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