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Media Candidate Endorsements Mixed Bag

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Gavin Dahl votes early in Glenwood Springs.
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KDNK News Director Gavin Dahl looked at newspaper candidate endorsements from around our region and produced this summary for those of you still deciding how to vote, including clips of KDNK interviews with reporters covering the election.

Let’s start at the top of the ballot with the presidential race. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent is making no official endorsement. Publisher and editor Randy Essex wrote a column expressing his own personal view that Donald Trump will be a disaster as president. The Durango Herald wrote Hillary Clinton is “the only qualified candidate in the race.” And the Denver Post endorsed Clinton, writing “A President Hillary Clinton on her worst day would be so superior to a President Donald Trump on any daythat we marvel this race was ever competitive. We urge voters to dump Trump.”

For US Senate, The Post Independent, Durango Herald, Denver Post and Grand Junction Sentinel all endorsed incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet against Republican Darryl Glenn, with the Herald writing his approach is better for Colorado and the Sentinel adding that Bennet has “earned it by delivering results.”

For US House of Representatives, in the third Congressional District, the Denver Post endorsed incumbent Republican Scott Tipton, while the Post Independent, Durango Herald, Crested Butte News and Grand Junction Sentinel endorsed Democrat Gail Schwartz. The Sentinel wrote “we need lawmakers who can put the needs of the district over party interests, or their own.” Scott Tipton’s campaign repeatedly ignored KDNK’s requests for an interview. Here’s the Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland on a key issue in the campaign. Full interview here.

As for State Senate District 8, the Post Independent endorsed Democrat Emily Tracy over incumbent Republican Randy Baumgardner, writing that he is “aloof and unhelpful.” Baumgardner ignored KDNK requests for an interview. The Post Independent wrote “Baumgardner stands up for people driving on bald tires and clogging I-70 and intentionally spewing smoke at bystanders, and thinks that snowmaking means there’s no climate change. Tracy believes the state can support community efforts to ease the attainable housing crunch, and wants to improve child protection systems and examine how to lower health-care costs.”

For 9th Judicial District Attorney, the Post Independent wrote, “Incumbent Sherry Caloia, Republican Jeff Cheney and independent Chip McCrory all are experienced attorneys who have thoughtful plans for the office. Because he has been both a prosecutor and defense attorney, because he is not beholden to either party of the sheriff, and because he exudes common sense, we support McCrory.”

The Post Independent didn’t endorse either candidate for Garfield County Commissioner. In their editorial, the paper wrote that John Martin is full of hubris and considers himself the king of the county, but the paper has yet to see a candidate who is qualified to take his place, including Democrat John Acha.

For Pitkin County Commissioner, the Aspen Daily News liked independent Scott Writer just fine, but endorsed Democrat Greg Poschman, writing that he has “the right outlook.”

Aspen Daily News supports Question 1A in Pitkin County, writing of the Open Space and Trails program, “we hope the department remains an important part of Pitkin County long into the future.”

The differences of opinion on the statewide ballot issues were interesting to note as I looked at newspaper endorsements around the region but on Amendment 69, ColoradoCare, the Post Independent, Durango Herald, Crested Butte News, Grand Junction Sentinel, Steamboat Today and Denver Post are all opposed. Steamboat Today wrote “the aim of amendment 69 is a laudable goal but it’s how this huge statewide system would be executed that concerns us.”

On Amendment 70, the increase to Colorado’s minimum wage, the Denver Post, Grand Junction Sentinel and Steamboat Today are opposed, while the Durango Herald, Crested Butte News and Post Independent support it. The Post Independent wrote that increasing the minimum wage will “help the working poor.”

Amendment 71, the so-called Raise the Bar initiative that would make it harder for grassroots organizers to get constitutional amendments in front of voters for consideration, split the editorial boards of papers as well. The Durango Herald, Grand Junction Sentinel, Steamboat Today and Crested Butte News all support Amendment 71. Denver Post and the Post Independent oppose it, with the PI writing “the signature rule would allow only well-financed groups to clear the bar. Follow the money on this. It’s about blocking anti-fracking measures.” Here’s the Colorado Independent’s Kelsey Ray. Full interview here.

 

Amendment 72 would increase the taxes on tobacco products in Colorado. Steamboat Today is against it. But the Post Independent, Durango Herald, Grand Junction Sentinel and Denver Post support it, with the Denver Post writing, “Smoking kills 5000 Coloradans a year and the public incurs almost $2.9 billion in tobacco-related health care costs per year.”

Proposition 106 was opposed by the Denver Post, but supported by the Post Independent which called it “logical and compassionate”, the Durango Herald which called it “well-crafted”, Crested Butte News, Steamboat Today and the Grand Junction Sentinel, which wrote the “measure gives the dying the peace of mind that they won’t suffer needlessly.”

Proposition 107 was opposed by the Post Independent, writing “how a state party allocates its presidential delegates is party business.” Otherwise, it has the support of the Denver Post, Durango Herald, Grand Junction Sentinel and Steamboat Today. Steamboat Today wrote “we think it’s time for Colorado voters to get off the sidelines.”

Proposition 108 is supported by the Grand Junction Sentinel, Durango Herald, Denver Post and the Post Independent. The PI wrote “closed primaries around the country have empowered the extreme fringes of parties, and if candidates knew they had to appeal to independents and moderates, we might end up with officeholders who are less extreme, helping break partisan deadlock.”

Oh and don’t forget about the University of Colorado Board of Regents At Large race. The Durango Herald endorsed Democrat Alice Madden because of her “vision and experience,” while the Denver Post endorsed Republican Heidi Ganahl, writing she could be “the type of moderate who can maintain the Republican hold on the Board of Regents without pushing traditional conservative principles that don’t fit on college campuses dedicated to diversity and equality.” Here’s the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins. Full interview here.

 

So that’s my rundown of what our journalistic institutions have written about this election. Thanks again to each of the Colorado Independent reporters who spoke to us throughout the campaign season. You can read all of these paper’s endorsements on their websites and read more from our friends at the Indy at by clicking here.  KDNK does not endorse candidates or ballot measures.

 

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