Colorado State Senate Candidate Mark Hurlbert, the District Attorney who spent $250,00 on the aborted Kobe Bryant prosecution, just announced he’s garnered the endorsement of Scott McInnis, a Republican candidate for governor. McInnis, who’s endured a lot of criticism from Tea Party activists, is Hurlbert’s second official endorsement.
The other came from term limited, 8th District State Senator Al White, who is best known for being the biggest “Democrat” on the Republican side of the aisle. Like failed Governor and former DA Bill Ritter, White is a big supporter of the teachers unions, who counts his votes to increase teachers union member pay, as one of the highlights of his lengthy legislative career. As they say, you’re only as good as the company you keep.
McInnis is running a lagging campaign against Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, or “Hickenritter” as GOP boss Dick Wadhams dubs him, and as mocked in this hilarious Nazi YouTube video. Unfortunately for Wadhams, he’s got his own Hurlritter on his hands with Hurlbert, and the available evidence proves he is no fiscal conservative.
As Colorado political analyst Ben Degrow points out, the endorsement is suspect as it comes in the face of a strong tea party Republican already in the race, Jefferson county businessman, Tim Leonard. McInnis (and implicitly Wadhams) sends a troubling signal about party unity by endorsing another candidate when a good candidate was already out there campaigning hard and doing effective fundraising. Leonard had also already earned the endorsements of eight of Colorado’s 14 Republican state senators, and other important backing.
The McInnis endorsement, and the scanty information provided by either Hurlbert or McInnis about where Hurlbert stands on the issues, makes it clear that Hurlbert is Dick Wadhams’ Manchurian Candidate. Wadhams plucked Hurlbert out of the woodwork as a sort of empty vessel, perhaps more akin to Ben Stiller in Zoolander, that Wadhams thinks he can fill with his own brand of electability wisdom. Specifically, he’s attempting to package Hurlbert as the ideal electable, Green Republican, a moniker Wadhams seems obsessed with, and Hurlbert has obediently adopted.
Mark Hurlbert Hurlritter on the Issues
Hurlbert’s own announcement of the McIniss endorsement underscores that Wadhams hasn’t yet filled his vessel with much issue programming, and Hurlbert may not be capable of any programming on his own.
“As a conservationist and avid outdoorsman, Mark knows the district and will represent his neighbors’ interests well at the capitol,” McInnis said. “His ability to get groups with varying interests to come together and get things done will serve the state well. I look forward to working with him the future.”
Additionally, as a former police officer, McInnis reiterated Mark’s commitment to public safety saying, “Mark’s background as a prosecutor and witnessing the challenges of the criminal justice system uniquely prepares him to stand up for victims rights and punish wrongdoers.”
Now here’s the entirety of Hurlbert’s version of a substantive discussion of his stance on the issues:
“It is through his time as the District Attorney that he solidified his belief in a small, efficient government and working with various interests to reach effective solutions.”
Let’s unpack these two announcements. McInnis doesn’t make the mistake Hurlbert does with the “small, efficient government” line, though they both are on the same page about working with the “various interests to reach effective solutions.” And what the heck does this mean? The only thing that makes sense is that he’s referring to plea bargaining in criminal cases, where he would be working with defense lawyers, and occasionally judges.
Besides this explaining very little about how Hurlritter would perform as a legislator, his record even as a DA shows him picking the wrong battles to fight and the wrong ones to quit . This issue dovetails with Hurlbert’s troubling record of being soft on the perpetrators of violent assaults against women. There is too much material to cover until the next article in this series, but here’s yet another badly handled case. Suffice it to say for now that Hurlbert Hurlritter has left in his wake during his eight-year reign as DA enough devastated victims to form a large support group, and in the process let numerous violent offenders roam relatively or completely free.
Is Hurlbert Hurlritter a Green Republican?
Who knows? He has no record working on conservation issues in the mountain communities he lives and works in . His “non-profits” lists only one on his now-trimmed down Facebook page: the perfectly good (and aptly triangulated), Bush Clinton Haiti Fund. The few comments he’s made are beyond vague. He’s made no statements on resource development or climate change and cap-and-trade.
He is a Great Outdoorsman though, and Wadhams seems to be using this as a surrogate for Green, allowing another escape from specifics. The Hurlbert-supportive Summit Daily reports in it’s press release announcing his candidacy:
“In his spare time, Mark likes to ski, hike, run and fly fish. He has climbed all of Colorado’s 14ers, as well as Mt. Whitney in California, Mt. Rainer in Washington and the Grand Teton in Wyoming.”
Sounds like Mark hasn’t made it out of the lower 48–I was hoping to learn about similar conquests of Denali, Mt. Blanc, Kilimanjaro, and Aconcagua in Argentina. Hurlbert repeatedly brings up his graduation from Dartmouth as a Political Science major (what else?), but modestly omits that he was admitted on a sports scholarship for both downhill and cross-country skiing. Not to be cynical, but it seems as if he wants the public to think he was admitted to Dartmouth on his academic record when he wasn’t. And he graduated with no honors before heading back to Colorado for law school, where he also failed to graduate with any honors. Reminds me of a certain Harvard Law grad.
When it comes to walking the talk on legitimate environmental issues facing Colorado, Hurlbert’s a bit less energetic. He skipped an important Forest Service meeting on pine beetle eradication held last week right outside his front door in Breckenridge. Yet his opponent, Tim Leonard, reportedly made the trip from Jefferson County to attend. And Leonard has consistently placed the pine beetle problem front and center on his website.
Hurlbert Hurlritter Lacks Evidence of Fiscal Conservatism
It’s notable that McInnis fails to comment about Hurlbert being a small government guy, and a fiscal conservative. That’s fair enough considering the absence of any such evidence. He has held one job his entire career- a government job as a government lawyer, experience that didn’t serve Bill Ritter or Colorado very well.
Unhappy that the people voted in term limits for DAs, Hurlbert fought unsuccessfully to add a third term so he could be DA until 2016. Not one to take no for an answer, he vowed to try again this year. But then incumbent Democrat Dan Gibbs made the unexpected announcement he would not run for re-election, and Hurlritter jumped at this new opportunity to extend his career in government.
Hurlbert Hurlritter even lives in taxpayer subsidized housing in Breckenridge’s Wellington Neighborhood, and lists his taxpayer assisted investment as a “Store” on his campaign Facebook page. Worse, Hurlbert has used his visibility as DA to lobby for tight restrictions on other homeowners wanting to upgrade their deed restricted homes by doing such terrible things as installing new cabinetry and countertops. The self-avowed, small government guy claimed such upgrades would jeopardize the project’s “affordability.”
If Hurlbert’s so concerned with local middle and working class families getting one of these plum prizes, it would seem fair for Hurlbert to sell his taxpayer subsidized home, and buy one of the more expensive, identical “free market” homes in the development. As one-half of a two-attorney household, who reportedly drives around the mountains in a Mercedes convertible, it seems as if he could swing it. Maybe he hopes if he gets elected to the state senate and spends more time in Denver, he’ll be able to put the top down more often on the Mercedes.
So how does he do managing his 11-attorney DA’s office? He has staunchly avoided cutting his budget as others have had to, and has assured his employees that none would have to suffer even a single furlough day. I was informed of the latter by a support staff member last year (ironically, a woman from Chicago). She haughtily told me Hurlbert would never allow furloughs to happen. He also emailed me, telling me the implausible story that he has no way to keep an accounting of what his office spends on individual cases. He also lacks written policies on evidence retention and conflicts of interest, and I don’t know what else.
Hurlbert also skipped a health care event he’d committed to attend that took place on February 13. As the Scott Brown election shows, health care can be a litmus test about whether someone’s really a fiscal conservative or not.
He did attend a Republican candidates event in Jefferson County, on January 31. Hurlbert Hurlritter trumpets this as a great success on his website. It may have been for his opponent.
Despite being a lawyer and a professed fiscal conservative, activists who attended the event described a Hurlbert who didn’t even know what Clear the Bench Colorado was about–he’d never heard of it and thought it might be some sort of proposed legislation. Of course, it is the anti-retention campaign against the four Democrat Supreme Court justices when they are up for vote in November. The justices went around the voter mandates of TABOR and allowed Ritter and his legislative cohorts to increase taxes and fees merely by labeling them “tax breaks” instead.
Once Hurlbert got with the program thanks to the help of his fellow candidates, Hurlritter chimed in that he was all for it saying, “throw the bums out.” It will be interesting to see how the “bums” treat him the next time one of his cases comes before the Supreme Court.
Wadham’s fantasy Green Machine, Hurlbert Hurlritter, seems to be winding up a high-maintenance Manchurian Candidate for the busy GOP boss , who has his hands full with McInnis’ struggling campaign in a tight race. Hurlritter will require more remedial political and economic education and guidance than Wadhams has time or patience for, and without the benefit of the Manchurian high-tech brain implants.
Please read the tea leaves, Dick. They are not Green. They are Tea Party Red.