Republican candidates lead Eagle County money race
May 27, 2008
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Candidates for local state Senate and House seats say they plan to raise more money even as they have reported more than $144,000 in contributions so far.
Republican candidates Muhammad Ali Hasan and Al White have raised more than five times the money their Democratic opponents, Christine Scanlan and Ken Brenner, have raised in the race for House District 56 and Senate District 8, whose territories include Eagle County.
White, of Hayden, reportedly has raised the most, about $61,000, which is more than double Brenner’s funds in the Senate District 8 race. The seat is occupied by term-limited Republican Jack Taylor, of Steamboat Springs.
White said contributions came from fundraisers held before this year’s legislative session. White has passed a great deal of legislation as a representative for House District 57, which borders Eagle County, he said.
“As a result of that, people responded favorably … by helping to support my return to office,” White said.
Brenner, White’s opponent who lives Steamboat Springs, has reportedly raised more than $26,000.
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“I believe I’ve raised more money than any of the Democratic challengers in the state,” said Brenner, who plans to spend much of his contributions on advertising.
Brenner has focused more on meeting voters than fundraising and he plans to meet with more voters from Vail to Gypsum, he said. He has met mostly with voters in Garfield County and in Basalt and El Jebel so far, he said.
White has raised more money because he’s “well-connected to lobbyists,” Brenner said. White said his money has come from “doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs.”
Hasan back to campaigning
Hasan, a resident of Beaver Creek who’s running for House District 56, acknowledges he has paid for the vast majority of his campaign. Hasan reported having raised almost $55,000 at the end of April ” only $300 of that was contributed by other people. He’s planning to raise more money, he said.
“You’re going to see a much different report at the next cycle,” said Hasan, who wants to knock on 150 doors each day with a group of supporters beginning June 10.
He won’t ask residents for money, but he’ll accept contributions if people offer them, he said.
The effort comes after Hasan’s ex-girlfriend and publicist Alison Miller accused him of harassing her and filed for a temporary restraining order against him early in March. Miller withdrew her request for a permanent restraining order a little more than two weeks later.
Hasan slipped into depression and stopped campaigning from early March to mid-April to rethink his candidacy, he said. Media scrutiny of the court proceeding led him to think “this is just a mean and rough industry,” he said.
Now Hasan has confidence in his candidacy and only has “peace and love for everyone.”
“I just want to move on and make a difference,” Hasan said.
Scanlan, an incumbent running against Hasan, plans to start knocking on doors to introduce herself to people and to listen to their concerns this week, she said. She wants to go to every town in her district, which includes Summit, Eagle and Lake counties.
Scanlan, of Dillon, has raised $2,500, according to her campaign finance report. She attributes the low amount to rules barring incumbent candidates from campaigning during the legislative session so that they instead could focus on lawmaking.
“You shouldn’t be districted,” she said. “I agree with that decision.”
If you’re on Scanlan’s Christmas card list, you’ll be asked to donate to her campaign, she said.
“Campaigns cost money to run. … I’m going to need that support from people who believe I’m the right person for this job,” said Scanlan, who plans to spend money on advertising and mailers.
Scott Adler, associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said people generally give money to candidates they think have a greater chance of winning.
Even if people like a candidate and support him or her on issues, if there’s a low chance of that candidate winning, people are less likely to contribute to that candidate’s campaign, Adler said.
However, an incumbent is a “better bet than a challenger” in politics, he said.
But “when you’re up against someone who has raised 10 or 20 times that, you’re certainly creating a steeper slope,” Adler said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 970-748-2931 or email@example.com.