Off Limits

Things to do in Denver when it's dead

Indeed. And especially in an election year like this one, in which the state's rocky financial situation has led to intense budget-cutting. Because the legislature has the constitutional authority to oversee the Colorado state budget, and because officials from state agencies are routinely summoned to testify before various legislative committees, the Beasley memo inspired grumbling from many department heads, who are already under enormous pressure to find ways to slash expenses.

"It takes control-freak behavior to a whole new level," says one Capitol Hill observer.

But Beasley insists that it's the same old level: The policy of having state officials clear any legislative actions with the governor's office dates back to the Roy Romer administration. "We've done this forever," he says.

And if the memo was especially firm in detailing the time-honored tradition, that's because the legislature was particularly hectic when he had his fingers on the keyboard. "On that day, there were four or five examples of people down here doing things that were not related to what the governor wants," Beasley says.

And what the governor wants most of all, of course, is to be re-elected.

It's my party, and I'll buy if I want to: The Colorado Republican Party fired the first salvo in this election season's advertising campaign two weeks ago, when it introduced an ad touting Senator Wayne Allard. Unofficially, of course.

The slick commercial (produced in Washington, D.C., with some help from the National Republican Senatorial Committee) didn't make any mention of Democrat Tom Strickland, Allard's opponent --again -- on the November ballot. For that matter, it didn't make any mention of the November ballot. Instead, it simply reminded Colorado voters of Allard's existence, offering patriotic words and pictures to prove he's been President George W. Bush's point man on military issues. "Senator Allard hasn't been on the ballot for six years," says Alan Philp, executive director of the state party. "We want to highlight his record."

And if in the process the party happens to bump Allard's showing in the polls, what's wrong with that?

The ad buy included stations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Grand Junction, essentially blanketing the state -- at a cost of $100,000 a week. Although Philp says the party hasn't decided whether to extend the "issue advocacy" buy, he believes the money's been well spent. "We think it will be reflected in people's understanding of Senator Allard," he says.

Although the commercial's disclaimer notes that the ads were paid for by the Colorado Republican Party, chaired by Bruce Benson (he returned to that post after Bob Beauprez dropped out to run for the 7th Congressional District), the phone number in the ad leads straight to Allard's Colorado office.

And staffers there report that they've been getting plenty of calls -- very surprising calls in the beginning, since they hadn't been briefed on the ad's content. Or the fact that it existed at all. "Since we didn't know the ads were running, that makes it a little tough," says Allard spokesman Sean Conway. "The first time I knew the ads were running was when I saw one."

Not that Allard's folks don't appreciate the assist. "The Republican Party decided to do these ads," says Dick Wadhams, who took a leave from the governor's office to run Allard's campaign. "I'm grateful for it. They bought a lot of time; it's going to be helpful. I would consider it a public service."

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help