28 September 2010

Colorado Candidates Not Clean

Colorado Pols lays out the veritable mother load of misdeeds by candidates for State House and State Senate seats this year, following up on a Denver Post story on the same subject.

Some of the records of court cases are petty, not very blameworthy, or decades old, others are rather more serious.

Five of the most serious cases involve Republican candidates, often in suburban districts that can be won by either party, so this could change the outcome of the races.

* Republican Clint Webster, 59 is running against incumbent Democrat Sue Schafer, in House District 24, a first ring suburb of Denver that includes Jefferson County municipalities Wheat Ridge and Lakewood. This is a swing district that Republicans need to make progress to make progress in the state house. His record:

Record: Arrested in 1987 for disturbing the peace. The charge was later dismissed.

Response: "It was something involving my son. My big mouth got me in trouble," he said.

Record: Arrested in 1991 after an incident involving his ex-wife and the Jefferson County sheriff's office. He pleaded guilty in 1992 to second-degree assault, a felony, two counts of felony menacing and a misdemeanor assault charge. He received a two-year deferred judgment on the felonies, which were later dismissed because he successfully completed a diversion program.

Response: Webster said he was having a "nightmarish problem" with his former wife and had filed a restraining order against her. He said he called the sheriff's office during the dispute, which declined to come out, which angered him.

"I said I was going to shoot people and do whatever I had to do. That got them out there. I was 100 percent guilty. I freely admit I blew my cool, but I was so frustrated. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because as a part of diversion I had to go through counseling."

Colorado Pols elaborates on the 1991 incident:

The arrest report obtained from the Jefferson County Sheriff shows that Webster was apprehended after firing two shots from a semi-automatic pistol at his ex-wife. When asked by arresting officers what his intention was when he fired, Webster stated something along the lines that he had warned his wife to stop bothering him and had even threatened to kill her, yet she 'showed up at his home anyway.'

If I were a swing voter in House District 24, I'd care about that sort of thing. Swing voters happen to be notorious for caring more about character than positions on issues, and firing two shots at your ex-wife does not show good character.

* In House District 31, Republican Tom Janich, 48, of Brighton (another first ring Denver suburb) was "[a]rrested five times from 1983 to 1989 for various crimes, including assault on a police officer, resisting a police officer and driving under the influence." He is challenging incumbent Democrat Judy Solano.

Resisting arrest repeatedly from the age of twenty-one to age twenty-seven does not exactly conjure up an image of responsible leadership.

* Incumbent Democrat Cherilyn Peniston of Denver suburb Westminster in the race of House District 35 faces Republican Edgar Antillon, 26, who "[p]leaded guilty in 2004 to misdemeanor perjury in connection with giving an alias to police, and was sentenced to six months probation and 24 hours community service. Has failed to appear for court hearings 18 times on various charges, including traffic infractions."

How can you expect someone who has missed a court appearance on average more than twice a year for his entire adult life, and lies about his name when he gets arrested, to show up to his job at the legislature every day? These incidents are not ancient history.

* One also worries about "J. Paul Brown (R), HD-59" who per Colorado Pol's, veered "in a recent legislative debate into a discussion of the United Nations, guns, and civil war. Brown's brothers were arrested in 2005 by federal agents for the theft of a very large amount of high explosives in New Mexico." You aren't your brother's keeper, but with his paranoid rhetoric, you may wonder if the fruit has fallen very far from the tree. He's the "moderate" in a district that includes Gunnison, running against Democrat Brian O'Donnell.

* In House District 46 in Pueblo, incumbent Democrat Sal Pace faces Republican Steven Rodriguez who, per Colorado Pols, "was arrested in 1996 for 3rd degree assault and domestic violence. He pled guilty and served one year of probation. Rodriguez was also divorced in 1996, and a temporary protective restraining order was issued." Rodriguez is running as a Tea Party supporter.

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