Holtzman’s campaign manager says he made up false poll figures | VailDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Holtzman’s campaign manager says he made up false poll figures

DENVER – The campaign manager for GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman admitted Friday that he made up false polling figures about a high-profile ballot question last year in hopes of using them to fool Holtzman’s primary opponent.”It’s what we in the election business call spin,” spokesman Dick Leggitt said of the bogus material, which ended up being published in The Denver Post, one of the state’s largest newspapers.The admission came during a hearing on a complaint that Holtzman used a campaign against the ballot measure, Referendum C, to bolster his bid for governor. Voters ultimately approved the measure asking them to give up some $4 billion in taxpayer refund money over the next several years.Leggitt said he sent the fake figures in an e-mail to a Denver Post reporter because he suspected the reporter was forwarding e-mails from the Holtzman campaign to the campaign of Rep. Bob Beauprez, who is battling Holtzman for the gubernatorial nomination.The e-mail was sent two days before the election as Holtzman was accusing Beauprez of waffling on the measure.The figures indicated support for Referendum C was falling, and that Holtzman’s involvement in the anti-Referendum C campaign had boosted his name recognition to 70 percent, the spokesman said.”Our name identification is still not 70 percent, unfortunately. It was spin,” Leggitt told Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer.State law bars politicians from communicating with so-called issue campaigns that feature the politicians in their ads. Holtzman maintains that his campaign against Referendum C was not tied to his gubernatorial campaign.Leggitt said his e-mail to the reporter was sent in response to questions about the impact the Referendum C campaign was having on Holtzman’s campaign. He said the polling figures were never published in the newspaper.However, Denver Post Editor Gregory L. Moore said the information was used in a story about Holtzman’s improved image the day before the election. Moore said he would never trust Leggitt again.”It was clearly meant for publication. We’ll be much more careful with Mr. Leggitt in the future,” Moore said.In the story published Nov. 7, the Post quoted Leggitt as saying “Holtzman tied his ambitions to the campaign of C and D opponents, and he increased his name identification from 10 percent to 70 percent and boosted his favorable ratings to just below those of rival U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez among Republican primary voters.”Whether the e-mail got to Beauprez’s campaign was unclear. Leggitt said it was forwarded by the reporter without his permission, but John Marshall, a spokesman for the Beauprez campaign, said he did not have the e-mail. Moore said he didn’t know how attorneys got the e-mail.The complaint against Holtzman was filed with the secretary of state’s office by Steve Durham, a lobbyist. Attorneys for Durham refused to say how they got the e-mail and refused to provide a copy at the hearing.Holtzman testified Friday that he sincerely believed Referendum C was wrong and he insisted he was not using the campaign as a way to boost his profile in the race to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Bill Owens.Holtzman said he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and dozens of supporters because of his opposition to the ballot measure, and that his aides tried to talking him out of it. He said he made enemies by opposing Referendum C – including Owens, who has endorsed Beauprez.”If I had it to do over again, I would, because that’s what I believe in,” Holtzman told the judge.Vail, Colorado


Support Local Journalism