Anti-Ritter signs sprout like weeds in Colorado
The Denver Post
Like wild mushrooms, handmade signs bashing Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter have been popping up along Colorado highways this spring.
The signs, which all use similar phrasing, have been spotted on Interstate 25 outside Castle Rock, Monument, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. They’ve also popped up on the Eastern Plains and in Park County.
“Why does Ritter hate taxpayers?” reads one sign near Monument on I-25. Another sign near Castle Rock asks, “Why does Ritter hate Douglas Cty?” while one near Colorado Springs wonders, “Why does Ritter hate El Paso Cty?”
All the signs appear to be hand-stenciled with black paint, with some letters painted in red.
So, who is putting up the signs? Not the Colorado Republican Party, says chairman Dick Wadhams.
“We did not have anything to do with those,” Wadhams said, adding that he does not know who is behind the signs.
That explanation is tough to swallow for David Kenney, campaign manager for Ritter’s re-election effort.
“Dick Wadhams saying that Republicans have nothing to do with the signs is a little like the mob saying they don’t know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried,” Kenney said. “Of course, they do.”
A sign along I-25 north of Castle Rock that asks, “Why does Ritter hate Douglas Cty?” is on property owned by A and A Investments. Jake Schroeder, vice president and general counsel for VCDS Inc., an affiliated company, said the company had not consented to the sign being placed there.
In fact, Schroeder said the company’s manager, Jack Vickers III, is friends with Ritter.
“He supports the current administration and would not consent to any sign being placed on his property,” Schroeder said.
Douglas County Republican Party chairman John Ransom said the local GOP knew nothing about the signs.
Jim Tubbs, who owns land near Lake George in Park County, also didn’t consent to a sign being put up on his property.
The sign asks, “Why does Ritter hate Park Cty?” on one side and “Why does Ritter hate taxpayers?” on the other.
Tubbs said he knew who put the sign up.
“It’s individuals within the Park County Republican Party,” he said, declining to name them. “Some of these people are friends of mine.”
Park County Republican Party chairman Richard Elsner said the party had nothing to do with the signs, but he said it was possible some county Republicans may have been involved.
“We’ve got members here who are an independent sort,” he said.
Tubbs, though, is a Democrat who voted for Ritter. He said the sign showed up on his property along U.S. 24 about three weeks ago, and the people responsible said they would take it down the next day and never did.
For his part, Ritter was quoted in the Colorado Springs Gazette last month saying he had worked as hard to represent El Paso County as any previous governor, and he said signs suggesting otherwise should be taken down.
He wasn’t available for comment for this article, but his spokesman, Evan Dreyer, called the signs around the state “ridiculous.”
“Bill Ritter grew up on a farm in Colorado. He graduated from high school, college and law school here. His father is buried at the Fort Logan National Cemetery here. His mother lives here,” Dreyer said.
“Bill Ritter loves every corner of Colorado.”
Staff writer John Ingold contributed to this report.
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