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It's Scott Gessler v. Jim Wheeler in "March Badness" matchup

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It's March Madness time, when everyone decides to create their own Sweet Sixteen matchups for everything from movies to hot dog condiments.

And speaking of hot dogs, Progress Now's 22 state affiliates have tapped twenty politicians that they consider the "most outrageous, radical, out of touch right-wingers" for their "March Badness" contest. And guess what? Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, our own Honey Badger, makes the cut, facing off against Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler in a round that runs through tomorrow.

"This year's contenders include some real losers, like Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Corbett and Congressman Darrell Issa of California," says ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. "That's tough competition for the title of worst right-wing extremist politician in America, but Colorado's 'Money Badger' is up for the challenge."

"Over the past three years, Scott Gessler has caused more controversy, and been hit with more ethics scandals, than any politician currently in office in the state of Colorado," she continues. "By simple yardsticks of scandal and mismanagement, he's the worst Secretary of State Colorado has seen in decades -- maybe ever. To say that Gessler would be a disaster for Colorado in higher office is an understatement."

That could be overstating it -- for worst Secretary of State ever, we'd put our money on the late Vikki Buckley, who volunteered to officially welcome the National Rifle Association to Colorado when the group brought its national convention to Denver just days after the Columbine killings.

Here's how Progress Now describes its #7 seed, Scott Gessler:

Scott Gessler is a corrupt, unethical politician who abuses his position for political and personal gain, earning him the nickname "Money Badger".

Progressive organizations have been on the offensive against Gessler since his election in January 2011. His initial plans to continue to moonlight at his old law firm while holding elected office tarnished him immediately out of the gate as someone out of touch with average Coloradans because he couldn't "get by" on the Secretary of State's salary of $68,000.

Since then, his activities have included minimizing the impact of "inactive" voters by ordering clerks not to mail ballots to them, not to mail ballots to "inactive" military voters and overriding law and the constitution with new rules on campaign finance.

His aggressiveness, activism and comments have helped our efforts to paint him as a partisan loose cannon who will continue his efforts, despite judges' rulings and legislative staff warnings that he is overstepping his authority.

And here's his competition, #11 (NV) Assemblyman Jim Wheeler:

Wheeler would bring back slavery, but he didn't stop there he took it further. Shortly after the video circulated of him saying this, he created standwithjim.com a fundraising website where people who stood by his comments could donate to him.

You can vote here -- or propose your own March Badness matchups below.

More from the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "A century and a half later, the wounds of Sand Creek are still fresh."

Have a tip? Send it to patricia.calhoun@westword.com.

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