Roll Call

Colorado's Senate wannabes vote from the heart and gut.

Forget red and blue America. The real division is between red and green Colorado. Both of the state’s GOP candidates for U.S. Senate emphatically chose green chili as their hands-down favorite (no decision on whether they prefer Colorado- or New Mexico-style), while each of the Dems went con carne all the way. Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar even went so far as to claim he makes “the best chili.” Hey, them’s fightin’ words.

And just in time for the August 10 primary. To see who would endure in an issues- and pop-culture-related smackdown, Westword asked Salazar, fellow Democrat Mike Miles and Republicans Bob Schaffer and Pete Coors fifteen questions about everything from who would win on Celebrity Deathmatch — Marilyn Musgrave or Pat Schroeder — to how they would bridge the gap between the needs and realities of rural and urban Colorado.

Congressman Schaffer dished up a spicy bowl full of whup-ass — as well as some excellent one-liners. In fact, he could easily replace Governor Bill Owens as the party’s go-to guy for the Republican Rapid-Response Team. Miles got in a few good witticisms himself, while Coors went the straight-and-narrow route. The complete answers are posted at westword.com; here are a few highlights.

If this were Celebrity Deathmatch, who would win: Pat Schroeder or Marilyn Musgrave?

Coors: Marilyn Musgrave.

Miles: Pat Schroeder.

Salazar: Pat Schroeder.

Schaffer: “Musgrave is much too dignified and classy to participate in such an event. Teresa Heinz Kerry vs. Hillary? That contest is sort of in its first round as we speak, isn’t it?”

What one issue are you the most passionate about?

Coors: “There are two: supporting our troops and reforming the tax code.”

Miles: “I’m most concerned about making sure the ordinary person has a voice in the political process, and that as a people, we help others during troubled times. Issue-wise, I’m most concerned about health care.”

Salazar: “Education. It was the path to opportunity for me and millions of others. From early childhood through higher education, from standards and accountability to safe schools, this is something I feel strongly about.”

Schaffer: “Education for poor American kids. Their parents deserve more options.”

Who’s got the best campaign ad (no fair voting for your own):

Coors: “John Hickenlooper’s parking-meter ad.”

Miles: “I like the optimism of John Kerry’s ad.”

Salazar: “John Kerry’s ad on valor.”

Schaffer: “Miller Brewing Company.”

What campaign ad would you like to see?

Coors: “Anything positive.”

Miles: “My own . . .played as often as Peter Coors’s!”

Salazar: “One about truth in political ads.”

Schaffer: “The one with Ken Salazar correcting the pope’s view on Catholicism.”

What is the biggest issue facing Colorado?

Coors: “Jobs and economy.”

Miles: “Health care. One in every three Coloradoans last year were without health care or underinsured at some point.”

Salazar: “Economic opportunity. People need jobs that can support a family. We need to work to keep good jobs in Colorado and in the U.S., and stop giving companies incentives to move overseas.”

Schaffer: “Education. Colorado is home to one of the highest minority drop-out rates in America. No sane Coloradan should tolerate such failure. This reality impacts our economy, job growth, security and much more.”

If you were stranded on a desert island with a group of U.S. senators, lawyers and lobbyists, what one law would you want to have in place?

Coors: “Ten Commandments.”

Miles: “You have to shop for your own groceries and wash your own socks!”

Salazar: “Cloture.” [“The closing of debate in a legislative body in order to bring the question to a vote.” — Webster’s]

Schaffer: Second Amendment rights for everyone — except the lawyers.

As a senator, what will you do to help bridge the gap between rural and urban Colorado since each faces very different needs and realities?

Coors: “As a fourth-generation Coloradan, I have strong roots in both rural and urban Colorado. I understand the range of issues impacting all parts of our state, from the needs of our farmers to the concerns about transportation in the metro area. Although there are differences between urban and rural needs in Colorado, there are many similarities as well. Everyone has an interest in a robust economy and a strong, safe nation, and those are issues that I want to fight for.”

Miles: “Having already logged over 90,000 miles traveling the state and listening to the people of Colorado, urban and rural, I would continue to visit and listen and to advance solutions that advance the common good.”

Salazar: “While the rural and urban communities face different realities, their goals are the same. Both communities hope for affordable health care, quality jobs and the opportunity for a good education. I’ll put a spotlight on rural America.

Schaffer: “This I’ve done throughout my six years representing Colorado’s rural Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. Congress. Both economies are inextricably linked. Both settings need a senator dedicated to water conservation and expanded storage capacity for the state. Both deserve better schools. Both deserve a lower tax burden. When it comes to the allocation of scarce resources — especially water and private-property rights — preserving agriculture and private ownership should be the higher objective.”

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