Tom Lucero's campaign message: I kicked Ward Churchill's ass

Update, 3:45 p.m.: Ward Churchill has responded to the use of his name and image in Tom Lucero's campaign commercial -- and Lucero's camp has responded to the response. Get fresh info below the original item.

Former CU regent Tom Lucero is running for Congress -- and in his first campaign spot, viewable above, he attempts to demonstrate his toughness by touting his self-proclaimed victory over what he clearly sees as one of the biggest villains he's had to face: Ward Churchill.

In the ad, the 2005 Churchill quote "I don't answer to... Tom Lucero" is followed by the banner "Churchill Fired." Lucero then declares, with cocksure bravado, "Took care of that mess in Colorado. Now I want to lead the fight to clean up Washington, D.C."

This pitch probably wouldn't work in Boulder, where significant portions of the electorate see the divisive Churchill as the sort of free-speech hero portrayed in an HBO documentary last year.

But Lucero, a Republican, is shooting for the far more conservative fourth district, where Representative Betsy Markey, is seen as among the most vulnerable Democratic members of Congress. Of course, he's facing a formidable opponent in his own party -- namely Cory Gardner, who cleverly argued last year that Markey's "no" vote on the health-care package was actually worse than a "yes."

Lucero will have a tough time knocking off Gardner, whose campaign has a considerable head-start over his. Nonetheless, he hopes to play catch-up -- with a little help from his buddy Ward.

Update, 3:45 p.m.: Earlier today, the Colorado Daily published an article about Lucero's ad, complete with an e-mail response from Churchill. He wrote: "I can think of no one who better reflects the principles and integrity of Colorado Republicans than Tom Lucero," adding, "Who knows? He might even have what it takes to be the next Dick Cheney."

In response, the Lucero forces sent out a press release in which they left out the reference to Dick Cheney and treated the first Churchill line with as much irony as the once-and-future professor no doubt intended. Here's their note:


Churchill comments on Lucero's "principles and integrity"

Johnstown, CO -- CU Regent and candidate for the Fourth Congressional District, Tom Lucero, launched TV ads highlighting the firing of Ward Churchill. The Colorado Daily reported that Churchill responded to the TV spots by stating, "I can think of no one who better reflects the principles and integrity of Colorado Republicans than Tom Lucero."

Lucero stated, "at this point in the campaign, we are thrilled to have such a ringing endorsement of Republican values from Ward Churchill." Lucero continued, "Churchill's comments help further the message that our campaign is trying to communicate."

Glad to see these two getting along so well.

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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.
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