The Summit Daily Reports DA Mark Hurlbert wants to bring a “DA perspective” to Colorado’s State Senate. This narrow DA perspective makes Hurlbert a niche candidate out of touch with mainstream Republican and independent voters, who rank jobs and the economy as overwhelming priorities. Because the local media is doing a poor job in covering the candidates, voters should ask the candidates their own questions.
Hurlbert notes that though the State Senate is already packed with attorneys, it lacks the voice of a DA, a void he believes he must fill. Given that he has worked in the 5th District DA’s office his entire career, it seems problematic whether Hurlbert is capable of bringing anything other than a DA perspective to the job of a state legislator.
Mark Hurlbert’s run for the state senate represents a second choice political move for the 5th District DA. Last October, he lost his bid to obtain a third term as DA when he failed to get a term limit extension measure he wrote on the ballot (his current term expires at the end of 2012). Even when term extensions for DA made it to the ballot, they were defeated in November 2008, by 16th District voters in much larger Jefferson County, a clear message that voters were sick of entrenched politicians.
Undeterred, Hurlbert, who says that he “loves to prosecute” vowed he would try again in 2010 to for a term extension. Then, last November, democrat state senate incumbent Dan Gibbs made the surprising announcement that he would not run for re-election. Despite his love of prosecuting people, Hurlbert jumped at this political opportunity and announced his candidacy in January, forcing a Republican primary battle against Evergreen businessman and Republican/libertarian activist Tim Leonard.
So, what would this “DA perspective” bring to the job? Colorado voters needn’t speculate, as they have had more than ample opportunity to see the DA perspective in action in the person of lame duck governor Bill Ritter. Like Hurlbert, Ritter had spent his entire career as a local DA. Like Hurlbert, Ritter jumped from being a DA into the governor’s job with no experience in economics, job creation, tax policy, education or anything else besides prosecuting criminal cases and running a legal bureaucracy (albeit one several orders of magnitude larger than Hurlbert’s 11 attorney office).
Bill Ritter’s performance as governor turned out to be so unpopular with the public that Ritter announced in January he would not run for re-election this November. Meanwhile, over in Massachusetts, career prosecutor Martha Coackley failed monumentally in her run against Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race. In the “Scott Heard Round the World,” voters rejected Coakley in favor of someone who ran on the economy, unemployment and the defeat of Obamacare.
The DA Perspective and Hurlbert’s Legislative Priorities
Mark Hurlbert’s own statements about his legislative priorities reveal just how much his myopic DA perspective is at odds with the pressing bread and butter issues of jobs, the housing market, and taxes and fees.
“I am a firm believer in the ability of government to work to [sic] the benefit of the public, but I also know that there need to be realistic expectations from the constituency as to what government’s limits are.”
Hurlbert’s faith in government seems out of step with the current political climate. An overwhelming percentage of Republicans and independents lack Hurlbert’s faith in government to help them.
And contrary to Hurlbert’s implication, it is not “we the people” who are clamoring for more government, and who need to rein in our voracious appetites for more and more government spending and mandates. Republicans and independents don’t want trial lawyers running government who simply want to impose more taxes, mandates and laws restricting their lives; rather it is government who has an insatiable appetite for more government and more control. It’s no coincidence that virtually the only beneficiaries from Obama’s stimulus spending have been government unions.
Rather than tackling Colorado’s massive economic problems, Hurlbert states that his
“ goals for the senate include a role in the major revamping [sic] criminal law — particularly regarding drugs and drunken driving — for effective alternatives to incarceration, as is being researched by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice the state Legislature created a few years ago.”
In his several statements since his announcement, he did mouth the words “fiscal conservative” on one occasion, but did not bother to specify what that would mean in terms of his votes as a state legislator. He describes himself as a “green Republican” and is attempting to triangulate himself as a moderate. Here too, Hurlbert fails to be specific. According to the Hurlbert-supportive Summit Daily:
“having grown up hiking and camping in Summit County, he’s climbed all of Colorado’s Fourteeners. He said he wants to protect land, water and air without sacrificing jobs. He also supports renewable-energy development.
By “renewable-energy development” does he mean government spending along the lines of Obama’s “green jobs” financial fiasco? Cap and trade? He doesn’t tell and the Summit Daily doesn’t ask. The Summit Daily does find support for Hurlbert in the guise of the attorney of their sister paper, the Vail Daily. Media attorney and local radio show host Rohn Robbins, a self-described lifelong democrat, supports Hurlbert, calling him a “very middle-of-the-road Republican.” This democratic media attorney is so enthusiastic about Hurlbert, any democrat who steps up against Hurlbert would have to be “spectacular” to win his vote from Hurlbert.
So there we have it. Hurlbert is a RINO out of step with the 16th District’s Republicans and libertarian oriented independents. Maybe Hurlbert should declare for the democrat nomination instead. We all know how that “moderate” thing worked out for McCain–and the country.