Is This Muslim Republican Mr. Right or the Big Cheese?

Ali Hasan is young, rich and brash, and plans to follow in his parents' political footsteps – cowboy boots and all.

"We have to put pressure on the people in Washington," said Jefferson County representative Jim Kerr about the pine-beetle epidemic.

The legislators fielded a few more questions, and then Stephens spoke up again. "You can tell that Ali is thinking a little differently," she said. "We are attracted to candidates who think outside of the box. I am convinced that you have something that people are attracted to."

"I'm not old and white," Ali replied. "I have brown skin and I have a strong Muslim background. I'm not from the Front Range. These guys say, 'We see these things as advantages and not disadvantages.' The fact that you came here shows me that you are not afraid to promote me. It says that you accept these things about me. I'll do my best to win 56. People will say, 'This is the party of open-minded, inclusive people.'"

Ali Hasan and Alison Miller enjoy a "notch day" in Breckenridge; the Hasan family, including Ali's mother, Seeme, is close with President Bush.
Anthony Camera
Ali Hasan and Alison Miller enjoy a "notch day" in Breckenridge; the Hasan family, including Ali's mother, Seeme, is close with President Bush.
As a candidate, Ali takes Front Range legislators, like Representative Frank McNulty (left) of Highlands Ranch, to task; as a sixth-grader in Denver, he had his eyes on the future.
Anthony Camera
As a candidate, Ali takes Front Range legislators, like Representative Frank McNulty (left) of Highlands Ranch, to task; as a sixth-grader in Denver, he had his eyes on the future.

The audience clapped wildly, and an older woman in the foyer wagged her finger in excitement. "Yeah! Yeah!"

As the crowd broke up, Ali stayed behind to shake hands with the legislators, two of whom would follow him to Avon that evening for another town hall meeting. It had been a "notch" morning in his words, a day that he gained legitimacy with the Republicans — and didn't compromise himself while doing it.

"I want to change the Republican Party," he said later. "And it's easier to do that when the Republican Party is supporting you."

After the New Year, Ali planned to kick of the campaign in style by knocking on doors throughout the district. He also promised to fund what he called a "War on Pine Beetles" study. But for now, he had a second town hall meeting to conduct. Ali and Miller held hands as they walked back to the Lexus SUV. She made a U-turn out of her spot, heading the wrong direction on the one-way street. A man drove past her in another SUV and mouthed "One way," lifting his pointer finger into the air.

"Don't you point at my girlfriend," Ali joked as Miller turned the car around. "I'm the next fucking state representative."

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