BEST EXAMPLE OF IGNORANT EDITORIALS
Boulder Weekly’s pick for dirty politics by Katie Witt’s supporters
In the ongoing need for Boulder to assert its unquestionable dominance over its neighbor to the northeast (for you in Boulder, that would be Longmont), the staff of the Boulder Weekly has selected as their “Best example of dirty politics” Katie Witt’s supporters. In a cute, snarky, and mostly factually challenged diatribe, it decried the fact that the person they preferred to win the Longmont City Council race, Karen Benker, got hammered by (now Longmont City Council member) Ms. Witt.
Contrary to what they may have thought they read somewhere, Western Tradition Partnership (WTP) did not “bankroll” Ms. Witt’s or anyone’s campaign. They made independent expenditures for candidates (and not just Ms. Witt), but Boulder Weekly knew this several months ago, and for this nice little hit piece as well since they mentioned the lawsuit WTP was involved in. That lawsuit was for, wait for it, independent expenditures, which it won.
What BW failed to mention in their “best of” piece is what brought on this lawsuit: a misguided change to Longmont’s campaign law that was spearheaded by none other than, wait for it again, Karen Benker. And guess who tried to use this ridiculously written new law against WTP and others as her main campaign tool? Once again, Karen Benker. She did squeeze a few hundred dollars out of them during a kangaroo court proceeding, but they got back tens of thousands of dollars out of Longmont in federal court over this campaign law.
I was part of that lawsuit. I wasn’t backed by WTP, nor did I fight the lawsuit for money (nor did I receive any). Ms. Benker, Longmont City Council, and the task force who wrote much of the new law were warned before, during, and after the new ordinance took effect that it was wrong for several specific reasons – yet not only did they plug along anyway, City Council made it even worse than the task force dreamed of. These changes lead directly to the costly court loss for the city, and the changes that are being made currently in the ordinance. We beat the U.S. Supreme Court and the State to the punch on similar changes to campaign laws.
WTP, the mailers, or any push-polls didn’t cost Ms. Benker the race, as much as her supporters in and out of Longmont would like to believe. She ran a terrible campaign including a weak to non-existent ground game, a less than popular voting record to run on, she brought in less than half of campaign contributions than her opponent, she didn’t have the “likability” angle working for her, she made too many people in the city angry, and she was part of a Democratic Partymachine that was becoming increasingly unpopular. This all occurred before anyone in Longmont had ever heard of WTP.
To assume WTP ran the show, and that all of Katie Witt’s supporters engaged in “dirty politics” is disingenuous, ignorant, and an insult to supporters and volunteers who are still probably unaware of who or what WTP even is. Her contributor list is open record information; it’s by far made up of small contributions from people, not organizations or corporations. The miles of walking door to door were done by volunteers, not some faceless organization.
Try as you may to paint it otherwise, Ms. Witt won fair and square (and overwhelmingly) using old school campaign techniques. If she was the beneficiary of outside influence she had no control over, it couldn’t have been any greater than the built-in advantage of running against an inferior candidate
Boulder Weekly, next time try to find out what’s really going on up here in Longmont, or just stick to Boulder. This kind of shoddy journalism sprinkled with partisan commentary won’t be missed.