Pols Poll: Secretary of State

As we’ve done in other election years, we regularly poll our readers on various races to gauge changing perceptions. These obviously aren’t scientific polls, but they do help to show how the perception of various candidates are changing. We’ll conduct these polls each month and then show the results to see how the winds are shifting.

As always, please vote based on what you think will happen, not on who you would vote for or which candidate you support personally. Think of it this way: If you had to bet the deed to your house, who would you pick?

Who Will Be Elected Secretary of State in 2010?

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Gessler Raises Little in Q2, But Spends Plenty

Lost in the latest round of campaign finance reports (and no doubt he wishes it would stay lost) was the news that Republican Scott Gessler raised a measly $12,800 in his bid for Secretary of State.

Gessler did manage to spend $21,569 (including a whopping $16,000 on various “consultants”), leaving him with just $6,336 cash on hand. Gessler is apparently hot on the trail of CD-4 Republicans Tom Lucero and Diggs Brown in the race to see who can bankrupt their campaigns first.

With Republicans waging expensive primaries for both State Treasurer and Governor, there’s not going to be a lot of cash left on the table for candidates like Gessler. Unless he’s got a lot of personal money to put into his campaign, Gessler looks unlikely to mount a real challenge to incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher — and he may have spent his way into a GOP primary as well. Certainly no Republican thinking of running for SOS will be scared off by Gessler’s meager fundraising.

Boring the Voters to Death

Republican Scott Gessler is running for Secretary of State after many years as the Republican Party’s attorney, but we hadn’t heard much from him until an email he sent out last Friday. The email, which is his first (to our knowledge, anyway) outreach to a larger audience is full of…well…lawyer stuff.

You can read the full email below, which would be more than we did because it bored the shit out of us after just a few paragraphs. Granted, it’s hard to find “sexy” issues to highlight when you are running for Secretary of State, but the last thing you want to do as a candidate is to send out horribly boring drivel like this — especially if it is your first outreach.

Can’t say we’re eagerly awaiting the next email from Gessler.

Back in early January I announced my bid for Colorado Secretary of State.  I have entered the race in order to make positive changes, based on my experience drawn from years of practicing election law, running small businesses, serving as an Army officer, and working as a federal prosecutor. My goal is to bring meaningful leadership to that office, so we have election systems that are fair and trustworthy.

But this last legislative session really drove home the need for real changes at the Secretary of State’s office. For example, the Democrat-dominated General Assembly just passed legislation – House Bill 1326 — that greatly damages our right to initiative.

Overall, HB 1326 is a lawyer’s dream come true – if you are trying to stop initiatives, that is. First, it allows someone to challenge qualifying signatures on any basis, welcoming any clever attorney to dream up a reason why a citizen’s signature should not count.

HB 1326 also includes a “bounty-hunter provision” – lawyers can collect their attorney fees from circulators for certain violations. It might sound reasonable on its face, but there are three big problems. First, it scares away circulators – even if they do nothing wrong, they have to hire an attorney to defend themselves. Second, it gives challengers a huge incentive to throw a lot of mud at the wall, hoping that something will stick and they’ll win attorney fees. Third, it will attract litigation like flies – and we should give Colorado voters a chance to vote on initiatives, not tie initiatives up in court.

HB 1326 also games the system in favor of challengers by changing normal court rules. If a signature collector doesn’t show up in court every person who signed the petition would have his or her name involuntarily struck. We’ve had the initiative process for about 100 years, now, and this is the most unfair, draconian rule designed to prevent Coloradan’s voice from being heard.

The list of injustices in this legislation goes on and on. For the first time, signatures can be struck for even the most harmless error.

HB 1326 is almost entirely form over substance. It was penned by those angry at the initiative process, those who seem to feel that we should not have as many chances to vote on initiatives. But the fact is, this bill creates open season for protestors – and their actions are not tempered by a sense of justice. Rather, they want more legal tools to defeat their political opponents in court, rather than facing open debate in front of the voters.

My opponent for Secretary of State, Governor Ritter’s appointee Bernie Beuscher, strongly supported this damaging and unfair legislation.

Perhaps he just didn’t know enough about the initiative process to understand how bad this is.

But Colorado voters deserve someone who will stand up for voters, and make shore we in Colorado keep the freedom to propose legislation, without legal harassment.  

Secretary Beuscher has been in office for four months, and one of his most significant acts is to support this assault on our right to initiative.


Scott Gessler

Candidate for Colorado Secretary of State

www.scottgessler.com 720-839-6637