DA Mark Hurlbert Quietly Initiates 11th Hour Petition Campaign for State Senate; Uses DA Second-in-Command to Collect Signatures UPDATED 5-26 – DP’s Bartels Picks Up ExPat Story; DA Turner Not Listed in New Petition Drive Email

DA Mark Hurlbert, denied an automatic spot on the Republican state Senate ballot after getting

DA Mark Hurlbert - at the Frisco Safeway today, 3-6 (Getty Images Photo)

beaten by Tim Leonard in a 71 to 29 percent defeat,  is now trying to petition on the August primary ballot in an unusual behind-the-scenes effort.  In an email to at least 400 possible supporters/spam recipients, Hurlbert appeared to be reaching out to home town Summit County Republicans with a call to come by the Frisco Safeway store to sign his petition between 3-6 today and yesterday.  The email is aptly titled, “Mark Hurlbert needs your help.”

All other candidates seeking to petition on the Republican primary ballot have announced their intentions publicly through the media.  And they did so primarily to gain as much publicity as possible for their petition drives.  I can only speculate, but in yet another misguided effort in an inept campaign, Hurlbert may have thought if he failed to gain the needed signatures, he could pretend to the public that he never sought the petition route at all, and had instead bowed out gracefully from the race.

Unfortunately for these potential supporters/spam recipients,  Hurlbert failed to blind copy his email list and instead published the names of the  people he sent his email to in an open copy listing all recipients and their email addresses.  To make matters worse, Hurlbert’s email directs recipients to his own second-in-command at the DA’s office, Assistant District Attorney Scott Turner, as one of his two point persons for those wishing to take up the signature-collection cause.   Just as former Colorado Governor Bill Owens appointed Hurlbert DA when his boss moved on to higher office, it would not be a stretch to suggest Scott Turner would be appointed DA by Hurlbert’s kindred spirit,  former career DA Bill Ritter, were Hurlbert to cut short his term as DA by winning the state Senate.

I spoke with Turner, whose cell phone number is listed on the email, late in the night on the 24th.  Turner stated after much cross examination that he would not be conducting such political business for his  boss during DA working hours.  Hurlbert’s blast email, however, puts no such restrictions on the contact time, and in fact announces that if a person can’t meet Hurlbert at the Frisco Safeway between 3-6, “give one of us a call and we will come to you.”  Talk about customer service!

UPDATE: 5-26 – 3:00 p.m. – New Hurlbert petition email removes mention of  ADA Scott Turner. Today I received a new email forwarded to me that Hurlbert appeared to send out at about 9:00 p.m. last night.  The email reveals Hurlbert is now on his own in spearheading the signature collection efforts and he seems to have seen the writing on the wall about the impropriety of using his second-in-command at the DA’s office for the petition effort.  The email is entitled, “The Last 38 Hours,” and all inquiries are now addressed to him, and ADA Scott Turner’s name is not mentioned.  Hurlbert acknowledges the mistake in failing to blind copy the recipients in the May 24 email:

“I also wish to apologize for putting all your e-mails in the “to” line so they could be seen.  I was unfortunately tired and not thinking.”

Still,  Hurlbert shows more lack of attention to detail in this latest signature-gathering effort when he  leaves off one of the digits in his cell phone contact number. Earlier in the campaign, his business cards had his own name spelled incorrectly in his email address.

UPDATE: 5-26 – 2:30 p.m. – Lynn Bartels, the DP’s top political writer at The Spot blog, picked up the story from me and kindly linked to Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer.  Bartels interviewed Hurlbert, who pretended as if he was doing an official announcement of the petition effort, ignoring the stealth effort we pointed out here.  In the Bartels piece, Hurlbert maintains despite his 71-29 percent assembly defeat, he felt compelled to petition on the ballot because he claims his gun rights position was distorted by a gun rights group mailing.  The mailing simply stated that Hurlbert failed to answer their survey about his specific Second Amendment views.  They tried twice to get him to answer, including sending it certified mail.

Based on those non-responses and the absence of any record of  Second Amendment support, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners logically concluded Hurlbert was not a strong  supporter.  Hurlbert’s views are not in writing anywhere, and no mention is made of the issue on his campaign website.   Tim Leonard has always stated his strong support for gun rights on his website, and promptly answered the survey to the RMGO’s satisfaction.  They endorsed Leonard and opposed Hurlbert.

Ironically, Hurlbert failed to use this ideal opportunity with Bartels to say exactly what his views are on gun rights, making it even more obvious that this gun rights “distortion” is a pretext for his unwillingness to face the reality of not just the assembly results, but his inability to bring in even less conservative Republicans aboard his campaign as either volunteers or contributors.

And Hurlbert had this same cavalier attitude about signing the taxpayer protection, CUT pledge.  He took over three months to fulfill that promise, despite continual reminders.   A party activist who holds a leadership position and is sympathetic to Hurlbert, nevertheless told me that he has to take these obligations seriously if he expects to be a viable candidate.

Hurlbert used a particularly inapt analogy for 2010, but a revealing one for this career prosecutor:

“It’s like a court case,” Hurlbert said today. “If you’re not happy with the result you appeal, so I’m appealing to the people.”

For the former Kobe Bryant prosecutor,  everything is like a court case and probably always will be.  But an appeal usually has a cost,  though as a government lawyer he could freely use tax dollars to pay for an appeal of anything he’s “not happy with.”   Hurlbert has the perfect legal right under Colorado law to petition. But his disingenuousness and stealth techniques should assure the assembly delegates and other Republicans that the Assembly put the right candidate on the ballot.]

Absent  further action by Hurlbert, most Republicans assumed he would not seek to petition on the ballot.  Hurlbert  must collect 1,000 verified registered Republican signatures by May 27. Experts say to be safe, he would need to collect a total of 2,000 signatures.

I’m not a DA charged with important matters like homicides, or protecting the identity of rape victims or anything, but I do know the difference between “cc” and “bcc” and won’t be so irresponsible as to embarrass those who are on Hurlbert’s email list by publishing the names of the recipients.

I will mention a couple, though.  One name that stands out  helps confirm what we’ve been saying about Hurlbert’s suspect conservative credentials since he announced his candidacy in January. Norman Brownstein is the lead partner in the liberal Democrat law firm in which popular (but Dem) Boulder DA and AG candidate, Stan Garnett, was a partner.  Brownstein’s contribution recipients include Christopher Dodd, Bill Richardson, and Hillary Clinton – something that probably made RINO Hurlbert feel right at home.

Hurlbert’s wife, Cathy Cheroutes, comes from a liberal, activist Democrat legal clan that contributed roughly one-third of Hurlbert’s meagre $10,200 in reported fundraising.  They’re on the list.  So is Summit County party chair Debra Irvine, a seemingly campaign-free, stealth  “candidate” for House District 56 .  I was surprised to see her name here since Hurlbert has aligned himself so often with her Democrat opponent, incumbent Christine Scanlan, and also because party chairpersons are supposed to stay neutral.

I was not surprised, though, by this desperate petition drive.  Hurlbert has never held a job in the private sector and has made it obvious that he wants no part of having to fend for himself in a market-based economy.  Word up in gossipy Summit County is that District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle is holding off on a his retirement timing to see if Hurlbert needs his judicial post to hang onto that PERA pension.

13 responses to “DA Mark Hurlbert Quietly Initiates 11th Hour Petition Campaign for State Senate; Uses DA Second-in-Command to Collect Signatures UPDATED 5-26 – DP’s Bartels Picks Up ExPat Story; DA Turner Not Listed in New Petition Drive Email

  1. Hurlbert is such a pathetic soul! The appropriate response to the assembly results would have been to concede defeat gracefully! Perhaps his thick skull needs to have his defeat presented in defining terms…
    His theme song should be Ursula’s “Poor unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid.

  2. Saul Menowitz

    Are the Republican powers-that-be listening to voice of the electorate? The people have spoken – they want Leonard, not Hurlbert. The CO Rep Party needs to step up, get Hurlbert to acknowledge reality and step down, and then come together behind Leonard. Doesn’t Hurlbert’s missteps demonstrate what true conservatives, including Republicans, are saying about Obama: you can not impose decisions from the top down because when you do, the result is worse than the outcome decided by the people! Leonard has run a good, strong, honest campaign that has motivated thousands of ordinary Coloradoans. The people have spoken. Now it’s time for the self-anointed elites to LISTEN!

  3. Pingback: Eagle DA says opponents distorted gun record, plans to petition onto the ballot | The Spot

  4. As Saul stated; ” Leonard has run a good, strong, honest campaign that has motivated thousands of ordinary Coloradoans.”
    As a registered Republican, it irritates me to see Mark Hurlbert obfuscate the issues at hand. His poor track record as DA should warrant absolutely no support from the Republican party.
    Party infighting most certainly is not what the Republicans need right now. They need solidarity, and Hurlbert needs to, as best he can, stand tall and admit defeat.
    Unfortunately, Mark Hurlbert doesn’t have an enviable track record when it comes to doing the right things.

  5. I am disappointed in the action of Hurlbert and the Summit County GOP. At least the Summit County GOP should distance themselves from Hurlbert and let him continue to self-destruct.

    The pro-abortion Hurlbert is about to be term-limited from his DA job, and none too soon.
    If Hurlbert really supported the 2nd amendment he could answer the RMGO gun survey. Instead, Hurlbert attends the local NRA dinner and pretends to be pro-gun. This has fooled a few locals, but the rest of us know that Hurlbert is an enemy in our camp.

  6. Saul Menowitz

    You know what I think? I think the reason Hurlbert is launching this petition drive is because the GOP leadership is behind him. He wouldn’t do it otherwise. He’s their boy. They picked him, even though there was a strong, principled candidate in the race already – Tim Leonard. Why’d they pick him? Because they think they can control him. With one phone call, Dick Wadhams or McGinnis could put an end to this fiasco, but they won’t. So what they’re doing is sacrificing the prospect of a conservative majority in the State Senate (and ignoring the will of the people) and allowing a bitter primary fight because for some reason they don’t want Tim Leonard. And if the CO Republican leadership doesn’t want Tim Leonard, then they don’t want people like me or my wife or most of my friends or the 71% of delegates who voted for Leonard or those who donated $65K to him or. . . YOU! Think about it. Instead of criticizing Mark, we should be on the phone and email to Wadhams etc. until they finally hear our voices. Finally, before it’s too late.

    • I’m not so sure. Hurlbert has very little self-introspection, and I think inaccurately perceives his chances as being far better than they are. I also have it on good authority from people at the Assembly that Sen. Al White definitely thought Mark should unite behind Tim, and that White told Tim he was behind him. See how sneaky the quotes are from Al in Lynn’s post. The were all from the Assembly – nothing since the petition drive.

      Plus this is real shoestring effort. Mark’s doing his own emails, screwing them up. He’s getting his ADA involved collecting signatures, he stops that. He gets a new email out, he’s on his own as point person. And he can’t even get his phone number right in that one.

      Certainly Wadhams and Co. aren’t putting a firm stop to it as you say, and I bet Summit junior high GOP is probably encouraging and some others. My sense is that it’s too little too late.

      Forgot to mention, I finally caught Tim for a response as he’s at a business conference, and he learned about the petition first in my blog. Hurlbert had not said a word to him. His only comment was that Mark is “squarely in his rights to pursue the petition route should he choose to do so.”

      He’s got until 5pm tomorrow to have the sigs at the SOS. So, we’ll see.

  7. How sad that DA Hurlbert doesn’t have the team spirit, dignity, grace or class to withdraw his candidacy and support Tim Leonard who received 71% of the delegate’s votes. But, then, Hurlbert has only ever been in this for himself, not for the party. Handpicked by the GOP leaders, he’s bombed out, the reality of his shabby performance reflected in the narrow and poor campaign contributions. And now he blames a second amendment group, when he couldn’t trouble himself to even sign the petition, How funny that when Ms. Bartels interviewed him, he still couldn’t mention what his views are on gun owner rights. Maybe he’s never thought about it. Maybe he’s not very good and didn’t want to sign because he disagrees.

    Why am I not surprised that the local GOP chair and vice-chair, who should be neutral, are not. The people are speaking and insiders and party elites need to listen. This isn’t business as usual and backroom deals.

    Mark Hurlbert doesn’t get it. Why is he so determined to be a career government employee? Without real world experience, with his known flawed decision making and his using the law to fit a square peg into a round hole, the citizens of Summit County should be very worried at the prospect, if the rumor written about here it true, of becoming a District Court judge. I truly doubt that he’ll win the State Sen primary. I don’t even think he’ll get the 1,000 signatures.

    The people of SD 16 have spoken. Now is the time to support the candidate who received 71% of the delegate vote, the candidate who’s run a good campaign, the candidate who has private sector experience and is a genteman of integrity. Let us support Tim Leonard through to being the next Senator for SD16!

  8. Too bad that Hurlbert can’t admit and face defeat! He even had the audacity to state that he was electable because he managed to “even carry Breckenridge” in his 2008 election! Of course, he failed to remind the readers that he ran UNOPPOSED in the 2008 election. I, for one, will do all that I can to recruit local District 16 voters to register for the Republican Primary and support TIM LEONARD for the State Senate position. There is a host of disenfranchised voters who will answer the call to defeat such an incompetent tyrant!
    Then…..on to the next chore of ensuring that he NEVER gets appointed to a seat on the bench!!!

    • We recently learned facts of Mark Hurlbert not supporting self-defense gun rights. At a recent Summit County GOP monthly meeting, DA Hurlbert support Sheriff Minor’s ban on self-defense in county buildings.
      As unbelievable as it sounds, Sheriff Minor is supporting a ban on self-defense (hand gun, pocket knife, any “dangerous weapon” as defined in state law) in county buildings and Mark Hurlbert supports Sheriff Minor on this issue.

      Sheriff Minor and DA Hurlbert are now confirmed gun-grabbers.

      • Why am I not surprised? Though I respect Sheriff Minor as a bright and engaging individual, like Mark Hurlbert he is a RINO who never wants to see a budget cut in his department even if “business” is down because of lower tourist numbers on account of the recession. This government comes first and government is special philosophy goes hand in hand with government having a monopoly on citizen protection. It is a shame, because deranged gunmen often direct their anger at public officials. I know of cases in Utah where armed citizens have thwarted attacks such as these. And we all know that these laws will not stop the deranged gunmen any more than laws prohibiting murder stop them.

        Glad to know there are non-RINOs like yourself active in the Summit GOP. Obviously, more are needed. The next step is to make sure that no one within the DAs office is chosen as the GOP candidate for DA in 2012. Everyone knows this is what is being plotted. Frankly, an outsider even if a Dem would likely have my support. If a RINO DA is going to treat their office’s budget like a newborn infant that needs constant feeding, then I’d rather have a candidate who will at least respect individual liberties and will show some judgment in prosecuting cases based on experience from the other side of the table in the private legal sector.

  9. And now that he lost his attempt to extend his term-limit,where will he nest turn to suck the money from the district’s hard-working taxpayers? He’s close to being fully vested in the retirement account for public employees, isn’t he? Do we really want this incompetent troll on the public payroll for the rest of hos life? I don’t and will do everything I can to keep tabs on him!

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