After nearly two weeks since a scandal over forged petitions broke in Denver media, embattled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser gave an extended interview to the Denver Post’s John Frank that went up a short while ago:
The former state lawmaker blamed an employee hired by a canvassing firm connected to his campaign and suggested the issue will not hurt his once-promising bid because he collected more than enough voter signatures to qualify for the race.
“It appears, in fact, that some of those signatures were turned in in an improper manner and that’s a very, very serious thing,” Keyser said in an exclusive interview with The Denver Post two weeks after questions enveloped his campaign. “It’s an extremely serious allegation. I think that speaks to why I was very measured and very disciplined in talking about this.” [Pols emphasis]
By “very disciplined,” we assume he means repeating the words “I’m on the ballot” over and over again while claiming the whole business is a Democratic plot. Repeating those words thirteen times between the Thursday debate and his confrontation with Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger during a break has become by orders of magnitude Keyser’s biggest-ever press hit–far bigger than the original shock that he had initially missed the ballot before his court challenge got him restored.
Meanwhile, Zelinger reports today on increasing law enforcement activity on the case:
On Monday, investigators with multiple District Attorneys offices met to discuss complaints received from voters who said they did not sign petitions for Keyser.
Two voters contacted the 18th Judicial District in Arapahoe County to complain about their signatures being forged.
Denver7’s online list of petition signers has reportedly produced many more tips to that news station, as well as the independent contacts by voters who found their names on that list to the Arapahoe County District Attorney. Sources tell us that the Denver DA’s office is taking the lead in the active investigation into the Keyser campaign’s alleged petition fraud, working with the Jeffco and Arapahoe DAs. Speaking to the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning Friday, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler sounds pretty serious about prosecuting:
“It is illegal to forge a name on a nominating petition that is filed with the State of Colorado,” Bruachler told The Statesman. “Under Colorado law,” he said, citing C.R.S. 1-13-106, “any person who ‘forges any name of a person as a signor or witness to a petition or nomination paper’ commits the crime of forgery,” which is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. In certain cases, he noted, the potential prison time could increase to six years.
“We consider forgery of candidate petitions to be a serious matter that we would diligently investigate if an instance of it occurring in this judicial district was brought to our attention, and we will prosecute those cases where there is sufficient evidence,” Brauchler continued. “We encourage any persons with knowledge of this or any other election offense occurring in the 18th Judicial District to report it to us. If it happened outside of this judicial district, we encourage citizens to report violations to the appropriate District Attorney’s office.”
Looks like that’s happening all over the place, folks. The political questions and now criminal investigations into whether Keyser qualified for the ballot due to fraud have effectively ended Keyser’s U.S. Senate bid, helped in no small part by his worst-case-scenario initial reaction to them. But even as Keyser finally admits after nearly two weeks that he indeed has a serious problem, albeit taking no responsibility for it, he defends the part of the story that might have done as much to off-put potential supporters as the petition fraud. It certainly helped made him the butt of nationwide jokes. Frank:
Asked why he invoked his 165-pound Great Dane, Duke, in an interview with a local TV reporter — a comment some found menacing — Keyser pushed back.
He said the reporter crossed a line by knocking on the door of his home to request an interview in the middle of the afternoon.
“Like any father, I was upset that my privacy was invaded at my house while I wasn’t there,” he said.
The problem with this, of course, is that it’s totally ridiculous. Marshall Zelinger has reported that his attempts to contact Keyser for days to get a response were fruitless–and that the address given by the campaign went to a rental mailbox. After trying the state GOP and other intermediaries without success, Zelinger did what any reporter on a hot story would do. He knocked on Keyser’s door.
That is not an invasion of privacy. That does not rise to the level of threatening a reporter with your dog. If you don’t agree, the thing we would suggest to ensure you are not likely to be contacted by a reporter is this simple.
Do not run for the United States Senate.