As our resident political science major Mayor Adam Paul well knows, one of the secrets to staying in political power is to run negative campaign ads against your challengers. As noted previously, four of the five Council seats up for election this fall have strong challengers to the mayor’s candidates. As we enter into the final couple weeks of the campaign the debate between the candidates will move away from voting record comparisons and examination of campaign donations into the personal character smears. The problem with making character attacks is voters resent the accuser making ugly charges. The key to getting around that concern is to form an “independent expenditure” group that can make those charges for the candidates. This gives the candidates credible deniability.
In the last couple months several of these committees have been formed by the mayor’s allies. The first one was Lakewood United for Responsible Growth the mayor had his former campaign manager, Cassie Tanner, form to attack the citizens’ growth limit initiative. In recent weeks a couple more have shown up. The one we find most fascinating is called Leadership Lakewood. While it is standard practice for the establishment candidates to use the theme of “leadership”, their choice of a front man is interesting to say the least. The registered agent is a web designer named Cortland Coffey. Having never heard of him before we checked him out on facebook and found that he ran as Democrat delegate for Bernie Sanders. While progressives naturally flock to Adam Paul’s group, what’s interesting is this group’s stated goal – to support candidates who “adhere to free market, pro-business principles.” While trying to get the moderate vote certainly makes political sense, it’s incredible they have a Bernie Sanders guy speaking for the business interests.
Another interesting one is Adam’s latest creation – Lakewood Voter Information Project. Naturally, it’s goal is support his candidates who “support smart growth, sustainability and public education”. Again standard establishment/Adam Paul fare. The fun part is who he got to front this one. It’s his old roommate Kaleb Young. Old time residents might recognize Kaleb as the name Adam used when he was writing letters to the editor of the local newspapers during his first run for City Council ten years ago. Since then Kaleb has moved on to Fort Collins where he has become a prominent marijuana care giver. Kaleb is famous for being the pot guy that after the police busted him he proceeded to sue the police department for failing to care for his marijuana plants while he was in jail. As a result of this police neglect, Kaleb lost his marijuana crop.
The humor aside, look for these groups to run all sorts of ads supporting establishment candidates and/or attacking the independent/reformer candidates.