DENVER — Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has outdone himself.
In his most recent attack ad, the wealthy businessman and former Congressman impugned incumbent Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper’s integrity by asking voters, “With John Hickenlooper as Governor… is your family safe?” The now-notorious TV ad, roundly condemned by the generally pro-Republican Denver Post, was filmed at night, accompanied by the sound of crickets, and reminded viewers that the Colorado Department of Corrections had recently released two dangerous felons; the ad failed to point out that the felons had completed their sentences and that the State had no power to keep them in prison. The ad also referred explicitly to the tragic murder of Tom Clements, whom Hickenlooper hired in 2011 to head the Department of Corrections. Clements was murdered at his home in Monument, Colorado by a parolee in a revenge killing; and Clements’ widow, upon viewing the ad, demanded that the Beauprez campaign pull the ad — which it declined to do, though it did delete the portion of the TV ad referring to Clements.
Yesterday evening, during Halloween, a solitary reporter was in Five Points, a predominantly African American neighborhood close to downtown Denver and its soaring office towers. The solitary reporter observed Beauprez knocking on doors wearing a Halloween costume simulating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who contracted Ebola and traveled to Dallas where he died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on October 8. Duncan is the only person to die of Ebola in the United States. Several Republican candidates, ruthlessly taking advantage of President Obama’s undeserved unpopularity, have tried, with some success, to take advantage of the public’s fear of the fatal disease.
As he knocked rudely and impatiently on doors, Beauprez, instead of saying “Trick or Treat!,” demanded that the startled occupants vote for him on pain of routine incarcerations of everyone in the house.
When the solitary reporter challenged Beauprez on the ethics of deliberately inspiring fear in a traditionally Democratic neighborhood, and a conspicuously black neighborhood at that, Beauprez curtly replied, “I am absolutely, totally not a racist, but I’m in this cliffhanger of a race and I’m gonna win. And if to win this race I have to literally throw Hickenlooper off a cliff, I will. In fact, I have just the place in mind: the cliffs below Hanging Lake just east of Glenwood Springs in Garfield County."