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Charismatic, socially liberal Republican Hasan pumps big bucks into state House race


Charismatic, socially liberal Republican Hasan pumps big bucks into state House race

But Scanlan has a proven track record as a lawmaker who has already helped Eagle County
By David O. Williams

September 15, 2008 —  Republican State House District 56 candidate Ali Hasan has spent more on his campaign than any other state House candidate this year, and according to the Vail Daily, which did a good job of reporting on the race last week, may be on track to set a new high-water mark for a Colorado legislative race.

According to the Daily, Hasan has raised more than $191,000 and spent more than $190,000 – all but $950 of that his own money. His Democratic opponent, incumbent Christine Scanlan of Dillon has raised just under $31,000 (mostly from outside contributors) and spent just under $11,000.

But now Hasan, who lives in the wealthy gated resort community of Beaver Creek, is complaining about an injection of money in support of Scanlan from a 527 group called Accountability for Colorado. He said he hasn’t gotten support from 527s because he doesn’t make promises to special interests in Denver. His campaign manager, Kaye Ferry, said part of the reason 527s stay away is because they give money to people who “need help.”

Scanlan said she doesn’t know anything about Accountability for Colorado, but assumed they are a pro-Democrat group. She clearly does need “help,” since she’s currently being outspent on advertising at about a 19-to-1 clip.

“(527s) are just a very weird part of our political process, and I would much prefer that they wouldn’t be involved,” said Scanlan, a Dillon resident who was appointed to the House seat last year.

I don’t have a problem with Hasan essentially using family money to buy a state house seat, if that’s what he’s ultimately able to do, nor with Scanlan benefiting from a 527, which is an unfortunate part of our modern political landscape. But the exact nature of that group (and Hasan’s family money) needs to be openly revealed for voters to consider. And the Daily did a good job of that in a follow-up story last week.

Hasan is a charismatic, energetic fiscal conservative and social liberal who supports civil unions for gay couples, leans toward the legalization of marijuana and opposes a border fence with Mexico (all stances that should give Republicans serious pause), but he’s a bit wacky on some topics, such as promising a mountain monorail without tax increases when the state can’t afford to even repair defective roads and bridges. He also opposes publicly funded support for early childhood education despite touting himself as a former educator.

Scanlan, on the other hand, who was appointed to fill out the term of Dan Gibbs -- who took over Joan Fitz-Gerald’s state senate seat so she could unsuccessfully run for U.S. Congress (she was undone by another deep-pocketed politician, Jared Polis) – saw all 11 pieces of legislation she supported last session passed into law. Many of those pieces of legislation directly benefited Eagle County, especially with regard to the environment and mitigating the beetle-kill epidemic.

I know we are clearly very partisan on this site, but beyond just supporting another Dem, I believe Scanlan deserves a shot at seeing what she can do with a full two-year term in the state House. She is a realist who has already shown she knows how to cross party lines to get laws passed.

Hasan has actually scored some real points with me, never refusing to return calls and always available to explain his positions, but those positions are too out there for most moderate folks in the Vail Valley, and he needs to hone his political skills at the local level first. I think he would have been a much better county commissioner candidate than the bitterly anti-tax Debbie Buckley and Dick Gustafson.

And Hasan’s social views would have better reflected the prevailing attitude in Eagle County, which is that we have a social obligation to take care of the people whose hard work has made this place the ultimate resort destination.



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