Doug Lamborn: the more you know the less you like
Rivera, the mayor of Colorado Springs, is fading fast and I do not believe he has much of a chance with very high negatives in polls. This leaves Crank and Lamborn.
I urge all Republicans in Colorado's 5th Congressional District to support and vote for Jeff Crank. He is the right man for the job, as much as Lamborn isn't. Here's why:
Doug Lamborn, a State Senator with a good record on taxes but a horrible record on tort reform, has received the endorsement of the national Club for Growth over the strong objections of locals who know Jeff Crank, including the President of the Colorado Club for Growth. It is the first real mistake I have ever seen the national Club make in my many years of involvement with them.
Lamborn has a reputation of not demonstrating leadership and not being a particularly hard worker, while voting a dogmatically social conservative line. He has stabbed Republican colleagues in the back on non-social issues when they did not take as strong an anti-abortion line as he does. Yes, he's been rock solid on opposing tax cuts, but he has also consistently taken donations from trial lawyers and then voted with Democrats to oppose tort reform.
Jeff Crank does not have the political record that Lamborn does, not having been elected to office before. Several positions on issues he has taken have been wildly misrepresented by the Lamborn campaign (and the Club for Growth) as supporting higher taxes when that was simply not the case. Crank also took the courageous step of publicly opposing Referendum C, the biggest tax increase in the state's history, even after his employer, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, came out for it. Crank has signed Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge. And for what it's worth, I have personally badgered him several times asking for a personal promise that if he wins he will stand strong for liberty, limited government, and the low taxes that accompany them. He has promised me repeatedly that he is and will remain stridently anti-tax in Congress.
I am sure that Crank said the same thing to the Club for Growth yet for what I believe are internal political reasons, repaying favors to certain people, they endorsed Lamborn despite his being, at least to me, a clearly inferior candidate. I don't know if there's anything to it, but there are also charges of illegal coordination between the Lamborn Campaign and the Club for Growth floating around after Lamborn campaign mail was received at addresses that could only have come from a list that was not legally shared with the Club. And at least two Colorado Springs radio stations pulled Lamborn ads after agreeing that they were misleading about Crank's position on taxes.
For what it's worth, Crank has received endorsements not only from local political celebrities like Tom Tancredo and Joel Hefley (for whom Jeff used to work), but also from Dick Armey, the former House Majority Leader, and Duncan Hunter, the reliably conservative chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Lamborn has received endorsements from quite a few people he has worked with in the past, but over recent weeks the repugnant behavior of the Lamborn campaign has caused at least one state senator to switch his endorsement to Crank, and has caused Lamborn campaign staff to resign. People I know who endorsed Lamborn because they have known him for a long time feel uncertain about their choice and have told Lamborn they would not actively campaign for him.
In one particularly odious act, the Christian Coalition of Colorado sent out a mailing accusing Crank (and Rivera) of supporting the "radical homosexual lobby". I don't know about Rivera, but Crank is a social conservative and anyone who knows him would know such a claim to be ridiculous. It all makes sense, however, when you learn that the Coalition's executive director is the brother of Lamborn's campaign manager. After this mailing, Lamborn lost at least two campaign workers. And, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, "state Rep. Larry Liston, who had vowed to remain neutral in the race, backed Crank on Wednesday after he said he could no longer condone Lamborn’s tactics."
Another state senator is quoted as saying "Those of us who know Doug Lamborn best are not supporting him....Doug Lamborn will do or say anything to get elected. These tactics reveal a man who is desperate to win this election and judging from what he is willing to do to get elected, it is hard to imagine what he will do to hold on to his seat if he gets there. There are far too many politicians in Washington who put power above principle. Let's not send another to represent the 5th District. For these reasons and too many others, I and El Paso County's other two state senators who served with Lamborn are not supporting him."
Lamborn has raised more money than others in the race only because of the Club for Growth endorsement. While I haven't seen the details, I would expect that most of Lamborn's money has come from out of state while most of Crank's has come from within his district. (If someone wants to take the time to do the research, I'd be happy to post the results.) It's too bad that a bad candidate with a so-so record and a mediocre reputation might be pushed to victory by a big PAC manipulated by a few of their "friends" in Colorado.
Crank has run a generally positive campaign while Lamborn has run a generally negative one. Lamborn's campaign even told a friend of mine that if he did not contribute to Lamborn, he should expect that his phone calls will not be returned if Lamborn won.
Anyone who knows Jeff Crank knows that he would never take such an outrageous position, nor allow anyone working for him to represent him that way.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a positive piece in this blog about Doug Lamborn. But the more I learn about him the less I can find to appreciate about him. Jeff Crank on the other hand, is smart, experienced, personable, genuine, and generally a much better candidate and human being than his competition.
Lamborn has a moderate advantage in cash on hand, but he is rapidly souring voters' view of him. At this point, I would guess this race to be a toss-up. Lamborn might have won if the election were two weeks ago, but now Lamborn certainly has much-deserved negative momentum with Crank on the upswing.
I repeat: I urge all Republicans in Colorado's 5th Congressional District to support and vote for Jeff Crank. He is the right man for the job, as much as Lamborn isn't.
This election will likely be very close. I could imagine either candidate winning by 1000 votes or less. So for voters in CD5, it is critical to get out there and to get your friends to do so too. If Lamborn wins this race, those he represents will probably have quite a few years of being represented by someone with a tendency to embarrass them, to avoid leadership or hard work, and to make them wish they had chosen Jeff Crank.
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