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Dan Maes's quiet hiring of new campaign manager, defense of Kansas cop firing story

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In a Tuesday conversation with Westword, Strauch teased the hiring of a new campaign manager, but there was no official press release even after the Denver Post reported the choice as George Culpepper, who'd earlier served in a similar capacity for former candidate Scott McInnis and also-ran Joe Gschwendtner.

This history led the snarksters at ColoradoPols to suggest that Culpepper has "got to be the only person in Colorado history who will have been directly involved with three failed campaigns for governor in the same election cycle. That's hard to do."

Here's Maes's very different take on Culpepper, from an e-mail statement he shared with select supporters:

George brings the practical, operational skill set needed to handle the day-to-day operations of all aspects of our campaign. He has worked on several statewide campaigns in this state and others. He has extensive political experience with various Republican organizations that will be advantageous to us as we move into the 4th quarter of our campaign. I am also impressed with his recognition of the importance of the conservative revolution; I could not have brought him on without that.

Why, though, was there no official announcement from the Maes camp? "Dan is focused on the issues right now," Strauch says. "The inner workings of the campaign are what they are, and Dan's very excited to add George to the team. But a press release would only distract him from the real issue right now, and that's the economy."

However, Maes did find the time to speak to the Associated Press about his mid-'80s firing as a police officer in Liberal, Kansas. He told Steven K. Paulson that he "he discovered evidence of what he believed was a gambling ring at the home of his then-girlfriend's parents. He informed his superiors in the police department, only to have the claims dismissed as a trivial at the time, he said."

A month later, the AP article continues, Maes was called to a meeting with a police captain and two representatives of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, where he offered them all the information he had and was advised to keep his eye on his girlfriend's family. But the following month, he was fired "for continuing to associate with possible criminals."

This narrative strikes plenty of people as loopy, including Westword's Alan Prendergast and KHOW talk-show host Peter Boyles, who spent much of today's show ridiculing it -- including a portion on which yours truly was a guest. But Strauch says none of that blowback has reached him.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts