In my impending ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election’ book, I insistently warn newcomers that “Politics ain’t a game for sissies.” Watching school board seat battles become so contentious they make the Palestinian-Israeli question look like a mere spat is always a fascinating proposition.
So though I’m clearly not naïve about it, I’m convinced politics doesn’t have to become a blood sport either.
My throngs of detractors will tell you I’m no saint. But whether it’s simply advising a candidate or managing a full-blown campaign, I will not go negative. In fact, the reason Chris Lauzen and I “broke up” is he insisted on inserting hatchet man Jon Zahm into the Martinez for Coroner campaign and I refused to let it happen.
Track records (or the lack of them) are fair game. But that race was going to be won or lost on Tao’s merit, not any perceived Rob Russell character flaw. When we choose not to see the good in the other side, we become the problem and not the solution.
Aurora mayoral contender Rick Guzman is a good guy. His performance at the Priscoe Center primary debate was so improved that I made a point of telling him – complete with F-bombs for emphasis. When people asked me about it, I said Rick won that debate.
The first time we sat down, I told Richard Irvin that personal attacks on Linda Chapa LaVia or Rick Guzman would be a huge mistake. Someone with his vast positives didn’t need to go there. True to his word, Richard has been all about bringing Aurora together.
Yes! There is that insipid Dan Proft PAC mailer attacking Guzman, but as Richard so eloquently put it, “The mailing is disparaging the very city I’m running to become mayor of. I have no interest in these supposed watchdog tax groups that are intruding in our election. They are not invited.”
It would seem that Mr. Proft never gets tired of losing elections.
But while the Irvin campaign makes a point of taking the high road, the Guzman effort has not measured up. And the evidence for that starts with a mailer that goes after Irvin for defending “domestic abusers.” You’ve heard it before! It’s that tired old ambushing defense attorneys for doing what they do strategy.
First, like all the rest of us, anyone charged with domestic violence is presumed innocent until the judge says otherwise. And no one better than former prosecutor Irvin understands that, with the full weight of the state against you, every defendant is entitled to a zealous defense.
Second, the theory behind our adversarial trial system is that pitting two equal attorneys against each other brings out the truth. I’m surprised and disappointed Mr. Guzman fails to grasp this basic constitutional principle.
But wait, there’s more!
There’s a new Aurora robocall from a “Richard Irving” – not Irvin – get it? Our Mr. Irving goes on to say that he appreciates Linda Chapa LaVia’s endorsement and he will endeavor to move her liberal agenda forward.
It’s not that I’m necessarily aggravated by this tactic, it’s that I’m insulted that Guzman thought the voters were that stupid.
Though Linda Chapa LaVia hasn’t endorsed either candidate, she did recently post, “I have the utmost respect for Richard Irvin and I believe in his vision to reduce crime and create a more prosperous Aurora for all.”
Call me crazy, but that appears to be a very gracious statement from a candidate who’s suffered a difficult loss. And if that’s a “liberal agenda,” then I’m all for it.
It took me all of two seconds to determine who’s behind these attacks too. They absolutely reek of Chris Lauzen and Jon Zahm. It’s the same thing they tried to do in the 2016 coroner’s race. Of course, we’ll never know for sure because Zahm always manages to get paid out of some sort of Lauzen campaign slush fund.
Hey Chris and Jon! Once again, would you please explain exactly why you’re the exemplary Christians you so consistently purport to be?
Look, I still believe Rick is a good guy and these kinds of bad decisions come from listening to the wrong people. But Rick! You and I both know the final campaign decisions are yours.
No job’s worth selling your soul over.