DA Mark Hurlbert’s Failure To Make Colo. Republican State Senate Ballot Another Blow For Party Establishment

DA Mark Hurlbert failed to make the August 10, Colorado Republican primary ballot for state Senate District 16  after

DA Mark Hurlbert - Photo: Eric Lesser/ Getty Images file

producing  only 394 valid petition signatures, the Secretary of State’s office announced.  Hurlbert submitted 1,118 signatures, but the Secretary’s office invalidated 724 – giving Hurlbert the distinction of  the largest  invalidation rate in Colorado memory.  Hurlbert, labeled a “moderate” by mainstream media and his recruiters, was crushed  by Tim Leonard 71-29 percent at the State Assembly.   Leonard is a conservative/libertarian businessman from Evergreen, who garnered huge tea party support.   Despite the magnitude of the assembly loss, Hurlbert decided to try the petition route – the only Republican who  participated in the State Assembly to gamble on such a long-shot.

Leonard will now face liberal Democrat, Jeanne Nicholson, a Gilpin county commissioner, in the general election and will not have to waste money and effort in a primary contest.   Political analysts, such as Ben Degrow,  consider  Senate District 16 a must-win for Republicans to regain control of the state Senate from the Democrats, who hold a 21-14 majority.

Leonard’s victory marks  yet another success of a private sector, tea party candidate over the Republican party leadership’s pick.  Hurlbert, a career prosecutor like Bill Ritter,  was recruited in January by Senate Minority  leader,  Josh Penry,  and state Senator Al White, even though  Leonard had already entered the race and was campaigning effectively.

Party leaders cynically used Hurlbert’s prowess as a skier and mountaineer in an attempt to market him as a moderate,  “green Republican.”  Hurlbert and his handlers must have thought substantive discussion of issues was some kind of political third rail, making him the only candidate in Colorado I’m aware of to refuse to put an issues section on his website.

In thinking Hurlbert would be more electable than Leonard, he and his recruiters failed to clue-in that a candidate  typically must run an effective campaign to get elected.  Penry and the others did a poor job of vetting their candidate, and thought the voters would fall for generalities and spin about phony electoral prowess.

In his Assembly speech, Hurlbert clearly mislead his audience, including the media, by touting his victory in the 2008 DA’s race – an election in which Hurlbert failed to mention he’d run unopposed.  Was Penry complicit in this misleading spin, or did he just fail to exercise due diligence?

Unaccustomed to anything but nominal opposition, Hurlbert ran a “lazy and complacent” campaign, according to one Republican party official knowledgable about the race.  Hurlbert raised barely $15,000 in the entire campaign, compared to Leonard’s $70,000.  And so much for Penry’s hopes of Hurlbert’s popularity generating big support from Summit County.  Only 12 Summit residents contributed to his campaign.  Perhaps Penry and other party leaders from different  parts of Colorado mistook a lack of critical coverage of Hurlbert in the local media for  popularity.

Hurlbert has more excuses for his campaign’s failures than a criminal defendant coming before the same judge after violating probation for the fourteenth time. After  I broke the story of his stealth petition effort (apparently designed to draw minimal attention upon likely failure), Lynn Bartels picked up the story, and Hurlbert and Al White told her a flyer distributed at the assembly by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners that supposedly distorted Hurlbert’s gun record prompted him to petition.  I’ve followed Hurlbert as much as anyone in the media,  and I am unaware of any record he has on gun rights.  He pointedly avoided telling Lynn Bartels what it might be, too.

The following Saturday, Hurlbert was caught on this video taken at the June 5,  Eagle County Lincoln Dinner, with an entirely different version of events – one that makes no mention of guns at all.  It’s only a minute and a half long, but it’s loaded with at least five misleading statements, and enough nervous body language to occupy both the Tim Roth character on Lie to Me and Bill O’Reilly’s body language expert.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDkjNAF4kpY

Here’s a quick fact check of  Hurlbert’s misrepresentations:

1. Hurlbert lost by two votes, not one; 2. He had at least four days to petition, not three  (seven had he been prepared for defeat); 3. Ballot problems caused it (all ballot procedures were approved by both candidates, before the vote and after – and he’s the lawyer in the crowd); 4. Great volunteer effort – no, he used mostly paid signature collectors and spent at least $3,000 of his contributors’ funds on this long-shot;  5. He didn’t submit “1,200” signatures; only 1,118- quite a rounding error, given the importance of invalidation rates.

Once the petition failure was announced, Hurlbert still refused to accept responsibility for a botched campaign.  Details aside, he lost at the assembly 71-29 percent.  What did he think would change in the next two months to prompt him to be the only Republican who participated in the assembly to try a long-shot petition effort?  Was it that he didn’t have a dime of his own or his wife’s money in the campaign, so what the heck? After all, every dime he spends on the job as DA  involves playing with other people’s money in deciding what should and should not be prosecuted?  He told Lynn Bartels:

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

Actually, private citizens who have  to spend their own money on an appeal need to do a cost-benefit analysis, and can’t just launch an appeal because they’re “not happy” with the result.  But when you use other people’s money, I guess the calculus is different.

After losing this contribution-funded appeal to the people, Hurlbert commented that his  65 percent invalidation rate  might have been a result of  Democrats collecting signatures, as if the career government lawyer can’t be expected to follow the rules.  He even suggested if that pesky and antiquated rule that only Republican signatures count toward the 1,000 wasn’t in the way, the result might have been different.

“That we collected 1,100 signatures in three [sic] days was pretty incredible. I think it does show that I had support among rank-and-file Republicans. And there were also independents and Democrats saying, ‘Mark, I can’t sign, but I support you.’”

When the Summit Daily asked  Hurlbert what he could have done differently, he did not mention any improvements he might have made to his campaign despite the glaring deficiencies. Instead, he took a move from Coach Josh Penry’s  playbook and said he would have avoided the assembly altogether and petitioned from the start.

Hurlbert notably failed to congratulate Tim Leonard on running an outstanding campaign and failed to even muster a phone call after conceding defeat.

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7 responses to “DA Mark Hurlbert’s Failure To Make Colo. Republican State Senate Ballot Another Blow For Party Establishment

  1. I don’t doubt that such an arrogant, incompetent, and absolute embarrassment to humanity would yet again display his extreme lack of character!
    I certainly hope that Gov. Ritter and whoever fills the office after the November election will CAREFULLY consider this clown’s lack of intelligence, support, and lack of any measurable positive outcomes IF he is EVER considered for a spot on ANY bench!
    I, for one,will forever diligently keep an eye on what this bafoon is trying to run for or be appointed to and will whole-heartedly uncover EVERY rock that he tries to slither under for cover!
    Hurlbert:
    Na na na na,
    Na na na na,
    Hey hey hey,
    GOOD BYE!!!!!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Bulldog. Check out what he might be up to next – prosecuting rafting guides for rescuing a 13-year old girl in Clear Creek. The guides did not follow their master’s instructions.

    The song Every Breath You Take comes to mind also.

    We’re now syndicated by the People’s Press Collective. This article is the first one published, plus they’ve included others in their archives. Please drop a comment over there to get the fray started. http://www.peoplespresscollective.org

  3. The same thing happened in the U.S. Senate race. We had a good candidate but the establishment had to go get one not supported by the grass roots. Oh, when will they learn?

  4. It speaks volumes about Mark Hurlbert that he won’t endorse his competitor. Hurlbert was toeing the state GOP Dick Wadhams failing old-boy network by walking in the Frisco and Breckenridge parades with a sign for McInnis and wearing a McInnis shirt. Mark Hurlbert is just another stooge who thought he would be handed a state Senate seat.

    Did I mention that Mark Hurlbert receives a government salary of $110,000 with government medical and retirement, and he lives in taxpayer funded subsidized housing while driving a convertible Mercedes sports car?

    • Ralph,

      Thank you for your comment. Needless to say, I could not agree more. It’s so funny that you wrote today on this, as I was just thinking this morning about how classless it was for Hurlbert not to even give a congratulatory phone call to Tim Leonard, and still not to give an endorsement of any kind. I had a pretty bad view of the guy before the camaign, but Hurl exceeded my worst expectations. Heck, even if you don’t really mean it, I would think though not real bright even Hurl would have enough brains to go through the expected motions. I do think he has enough brains, thus I have to conclude he has a major personality disorder.

      I didn’t know about the parade performances, Ralph, which is probably for the best as I don’t need any more blood pressure problems. I wrote extensively about his pay, which he lobbied to have raised, and I wrote about both the MB and the government subsidized housing in the Wellington Neighborhood subdivision.

      As you probably know, Hurl appeared on the front page of the Summit Daily back in 2004 or 2005, using his notoriety as DA, to argue against homeowners being allowed to do upgrades on their units out of fear that such anti-socialist home improvements would reduce the “affordability” of the homes. So I long wondered, what was it that was Republican about this guy, besides the nominal “R” after his name at the ballot. Did it just stand for “Rino” or maybe “Ritter”?

      I can somewhat understand Josh and Dick not cluing in about all this inside-Summit stuff, but it looks as if they didn’t even realize Hurl ran unopposed in 2008, and bought his BS that he proved to be such a great vote getter, won Breck, etc. I mean, don’t these guys even do the homework required of a fourth grade student?

      Back to the lack of endorsement. Look at the bright side, and endorsement from Hurl could be a negative. Still, his lack of basic manners is stunning.

      Please keep reading and writing, and provide more sordid details about the parades and the tee shirts. If you can get a photo of the MB in question (ideally with the top down) that would be great! Even for libs who might approve of socialist housing subsidies, I would think the idea of a guy making the $110k plus bennies (and don’t forget the 13% PERA pension), plus wife making I would assume at least $50k, this qualifies as “wealthy” by all Dem definitions. I previously called on him to sell the unit and buy a free-market one if he loved the neighborhood so much.

  5. He was in the mercedes benz sports car during 4th of July parade a couple years ago while he was running unopposed for DA. Someone must have pictures.
    This 4th he walked with a McInnis tshirt and a McInnis sign in his hand.

    In my opinion, Hurlbert is sick and not effectively representing the people as DA. Combine that with his power, and we have a potentially deadly situation brewing (deadly – like the Rockne case where the doesn’t do state time; potentially deadly – like the lady with her hair ripped out in a bar in Summit Cove and the defendant does no state time).
    I have some sympathy for Mark, as he does seem to be suffering from mental illness.

  6. I have met Hurlbert’s wife. Supposedly she is an attorney, so maybe they hid her income to qualify for subsidized county housing. She is a hard core left-winger … taxes apply to everyone but her while she receives benefits of those taxes in the form of subsidized housing and taxpayer funded medical and retirement through her husband.

    This reminds me of meeting Jane Norton, who also thinks fees & taxes are OK for the common people. Jane Norton was for the Referendum C & D a few years ago. When I asked her about that, she said that government needed the money. Jane Norton is another RINO.

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