EDWARDS, Colorado - When Dr. Brian Davidson ran for University of Colorado regent at-large in 2006, he and his opponent, Stephen Ludwig, both went to regent orientation together after Election Day. The race was so close it took three weeks to decide the winner.
Ludwig won the election with 44.6 percent of the vote to Davidson's 44.2 percent. In 2012, Ludwig is up for relection and Davidson wants a rematch. He is running on the same platform in 2006: Lower tuition, investment and development in CU's healthcare system, and emphasizing cirtical thinking in the classroom. He is campaigning across the state of Colorado before the primary election period ends on June 26 and he answered questions of Eagle County republicans when he campaigned in Edwards on Wednesday.
Healthcare is not a subject typically discussed in regent elections, but Davidson believes it is a critical issue for the Vail Valley and the state, in addition to CU. Davidson said most Coloradoans receive healthcare from CU alumni.
"The next time you go get any kind of health care service, from someone with a four-year degree or above, ask them, did you do something at the University of Colorado? I'll bet you that four out of five times the answer is going to be yes," he said.
The other issue the Arvada doctor is campaigning on is the increasing cost of higher education. Davidson says that he still owes $130,000 in student loans. He believes there is a gap between the quality of education offered and its price tag.
"We need to recognize that the gap between what we're charging and what we're providing needs to be look at very closely," he said. "I can't even, accounting-wise, add up in my head how it cost that much."
He sees online classes as a means to decrease costs for CU students after taking classes at CU. Davidson went to medical school and earned an MBA at CU by taking courses in the classroom and online.
But Mike Mathias was concerned about a possible conflict of interest since Davidson practices medicine at CU as an anesthesiologist. Would being both a non-tenured faculty member of CU and on the board of regents be "double-dipping?"
"I can't even think of a single vote that directly affects what I do, or my compensation, or anything like that," Davidson said. "I don't see it as any different than Congress passing a budget, or a state passing a budget, when their name or someone's is that far down."
The race between Davidson and his primary opponent, Matt Arnold, has recieved more attention than is typical in a primary for a higher-education position. On June 12, Arnold posted Davidson's home address and three of Davidson's supporters' addresses on his campaign website, prompting calls to law enforcement officials from campaign activists worried about his safety. Arnold has also been criticized by those in his party for lying about a master's degree he said he earned from Johns Hopkins University, and falsely claiming that he was endorsed by Arapahoe County Republicans.
"It is not as collegial as it has been," Davidson said. "It's been very adversarial."
The Republican primary for CU regent at-Large is a main-in ballot election and will conclude on June 26. The winner of the primary will face Democrat incumbent Ludwig this fall. Besides president of the United States, this seat will be the only statewide election for Coloradoans in November.
Stephen Kasica is an intern at the Vail Daily. He can be reached at 970-777-3190 and followed on Twitter at @stephenkasica.