Money and elections |

Money and elections

Cassie Perlmutter, Vail

One of the failings of recent campaign finance reform is the unlevel playing field that has been created. Essentially, a wealthy candidate can pour as much of his or her personal funds into his or her race, while conversely, a candidate without personal funds to donate must raise the money from individuals and political action committees. With each one of these outside contributions comes a host of regulations and limits. For the candidate who is personally financing his own candidacy, it’s as deep as his own pockets.

And why is there so much funding necessary? It’s for visibility.

In the recent Democratic primary among the three candidates: oan Fitz-gerald, Jared Polis and Will Shafroth, Mr. Polis, who is estimated to have donated $5 million-plus to his own campaign, had television commercials on air from May until the primary. The other two candidates scrambled toward the end of June to make an impression, but there was no catching up.

Right now, rarely a day passes without an ad in the Vail Daily by Mr. Ali Hasan.

Mr. Hasan is running against State Rep. Christine Scanlan for the House District 56 seat she currently holds. The Daily itself estimated that Mr. Hasan has put $190,000 of his own funds toward his campaign.

And where is Ms. Scanlan? She is holed up in some office, tied to the desk by her finance director or campaign manager with a telephone in hand “dialing for dollars.” Every candidate who enters the fray must have enough funds to pay for literature, mailings, yard signs and staff. If you’re one of the lucky rich ones, you just pay for it.

If you’re not quite as lucky or rich, you beg for it for hours every day.

The next time you discern a pattern of a candidate being everywhere all the time, including in all media, you must ask yourself if you know the candidate’s stance on issues as well as what they look like? If there were more public debates and less paid press, we would stand a chance of really comparing the candidates and being informed. But until that happens, we run the risk of the seat going to the highest bidder. And somehow that seems downright undemocratic.

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