John Hickenlooper: Republicans use part of Democratic guv ad in latest jobs slap

Update, 7:48 a.m., May 28: The Hickenlooper campaign has responded to this post. See how after the original item, published at 3:27 p.m. on May 27.

The latest assault on Democratic guv candidate John Hickenlooper from the Republican Governors Association is at least novel. It features part of an ad for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Dem hopeful in Wisconsin's gubernatorial race, bragging about Republic Airways jobs coming to Milwaukee.

And where did some of those jobs come from? Denver. And whose fault is it? Hick's, the Republicans say.

Of course, the anti-Hick spot doesn't mention Barrett by name: No need to give aid and comfort to the enemy, even if his home base is about 900 miles away.

Look below to see the Hickenlooper attack, followed by the Barrett commercial the RGA mined for it.

Update, 7:48 a.m., May 28: After the publication of this item, I received an e-mail from John Hickenlooper spokesman George Merritt. Rather than responding to the assertions made in the commercial above, he merely attached a press release from Frontier Airlines doing the job for him -- and criticizing the spot's sponsors for attempting to drag the company into a political scrap.

Here's that release, dated May 14:

Frontier Airlines Sets the Record Straight

DENVER -- Frontier Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: RJET), today issued a statement to set the record straight about a political ad run by the Republican Governors Association using Frontier Airlines as an example in the center of a Colorado political campaign.

"We are disappointed to be drawn into a political attack ad," said Bryan Bedford, chairman, president and CEO of Republic Airways Holding, Inc. "Frontier is not affiliated with any political organizations. We are in business to serve the people of Colorado, which we've been doing proudly since 1994. Our decision to relocate certain maintenance jobs from Denver was a difficult one, but it was based on many factors. Taxes were not the compelling factor in our decision to relocate jobs to other cities and we want to set the record straight."

Claim: The group claims that high taxes are the sole reason Frontier "shipped" jobs out of Denver.

Fact: In addition to evaluating each city's proposal, the Company considered many other factors before making its decision including: hangar space the Company already owned in Wisconsin, opportunity for operational efficiencies and other issues related to the integration of Frontier and Midwest Airlines.

Claim: The group implies that the high-tax policies will prevent Frontier from doing business in Denver.

Fact: Despite the merger related job relocations to Indianapolis and Milwaukee, Frontier Airlines is the fastest-growing major carrier in the United States and continues to grow its employment numbers in Denver and across Colorado. Since Oct. 1, 2009, Frontier Airlines has hired approximately 300 new employees and continues to hire pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents, call center agents and line mechanics to support our growth in Denver this summer.

Claim: The ad implies that high taxes caused Frontier to move its headquarters out of Denver.

FactLDenver is, and will continue to be, Frontier's commercial headquarters and largest operating hub with more than 3,700 employees based in Denver.

• More than 650 employees working in the general office • More than 3,100 employees working out of Denver International Airport • More than 45 employees working at the carrier's other Colorado destinations

"Frontier Airlines is fully committed to Denver and Colorado and we remain in discussions with the city and state with respect to growing jobs and increasing service from Denver to intrastate markets within Colorado to ensure Coloradoans have access to Frontier's service and every day affordable air fares," said Bedford.

About Frontier Airlines Frontier Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, Inc., an airline holding company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Lynx Aviation, Midwest Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America. Currently in its 16th year of operations, Frontier employs more than 5,500 aviation professionals and operates more than 550 daily flights from its three hubs at Denver International Airport, Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport and Kansas City International Airport. Frontier offers routes to more than 70 destinations in the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica.

On April 13, 2010, Republic Airways announced that its two branded carriers, Frontier and Midwest, would combine under the Frontier Airlines name. The integration of these two airlines is expected to take 12-18 months. Track our progress at

For more in-depth information on Frontier Airlines and to book tickets, please visit its Web site at

FRONTIER AIRLINES Frontier and Midwest are one. Details at

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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