Gossip, 1/1/2010


As carolers sang “Silver Bells” from snow-covered sidewalks, candidates rang in the holiday season with a flurry of e-mails to supporters and reporters. Some candidates shared photos of their families, some offered blessings and wishes for a brighter New Year, and a few hoped the “spirit of giving” would land more campaign contributions under their Christmas tree.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter sent several holiday greetings that included a pitch for campaign funds, a family photo to supporters and three videos with individual messages for military families, soldiers serving overseas and members of the Colorado National Guard.

On Dec. 22, the Democratic governor thanked folks for their campaign contributions and asked for more donations before Dec. 31, the end of the fourth quarter election-reporting period.

“Our donors include everyone from a teacher in Arvada to a retiree in Trinidad — and thousands of other Coloradans from every corner of the state. They share my vision for building a sustainable economy of the future, for improving our education system, and for creating a smarter, leaner, and more efficient state government.

“If you share this vision, too, I need you to be among the 5,280 donors helping us end the year on a mile-high note. Donate $5 or more today,” wrote Ritter, who listed future goals and repeatedly asked for help.

“I cannot thank you enough for supporting my campaign and investing in the future of our state by becoming a donor today.”

The governor concluded, “Happy Holidays!”

Ritter’s Republican challengers, former 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis and Evergreen businessman Dan Maes, also sent holiday e-mails and solicited contributions to their campaign stockings.

McInnis sent two Christmas greetings — both included a photo of him with his wife Lori McInnis and the couple’s two dogs. The “Happy Holidays from our family to yours!” message sent on Dec. 17 sounded more like a stump speech than a “We wish you a Merry Christmas” carol.

“This holiday season and the beginning of 2010 mark a turning point for our families and all of Colorado. In this new year, we have the chance to transform Colorado’s jobs climate, end the
cronyism and out of control spending at the State Capitol, and put families, taxpayers and Colorado first again,”
wrote McInnis.

“Despite the economic struggles that has families and businesses hurting in every corner of Colorado, I am optimistic about the future, because, like you, I believe in Colorado…

“Lori and I and our entire family have much to be thankful for this holiday season, and at the top of our list is the help and support and daily encouragement we have received from Coloradans like you.

“We now have an important end of the year financial filing coming up, and we need your help again. If at all possible please help us end this year on a high note by contributing $25, $50, or $100 today.

“The holiday season is for family, taking time to reflect on the past year, and to set goals and plans for next year. We wish you all the best this holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous 2010!”

Maes recalled learning “The Leadership Principles of Jesus” during a management training seminar years ago.

“When I think of elected officials I think of balancing servant first and leader second. What a difficult balance it is. I struggle with the balance of humility and campaigning as they seem to be exclusive of each other.

“I think it was Teddy Roosevelt who was credited with the phrase, ‘walk softly and carry a big stick,’” wrote Maes.

Reagan believed peace was assured by strong national defense. Jesus himself demonstrated righteous indignation and strength when needed, yet was still known more for his teaching, miracles and quiet strength.

“So I offer this wish of Merry Christmas to all of you in remembrance not only of our Savior’s birth but of my role model for leadership above and before any other politician or elected official.

The message extended wishes for “peace and joy” and blessings in 2010, and closed with Maes’ campaign slogan, “The People’s Candidate for Governor.”

(Note: Roosevelt actually said, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far,” which was a West African proverb.)

U.S. Senate candidates’ messages range from a classic Rocky Mountain photo to a mom’s plea for money to feed her son.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff enlisted his mother, Gayle Caplan, to write the holiday card. And, her message was, well, unusual.

“I’d like to spend more time with my son during the holidays. His campaign, however, has been taking up almost every spare minute.

“I admire Andrew’s dedication to public service, but he still needs to eat. That’s why I’m asking you to make a donation to Andrew’s campaign — and allow him to share a meal with his mother.

“I am very proud of my son. For as long as I’ve known him (and only his twin sister Hilary outranks me there), he has been passionate about helping people. That’s not only how he was raised — it’s who he is.”

Caplan admitted, “I may not be the most objective observer, but I know that Andrew will make a wonderful senator. He has devoted his life to making the world a better place, even when that meant taking jobs that didn’t pay much — or that made his mother nervous.

“He went to work for the Southern Poverty Law Center so that he could fight the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis… You already know about the leadership Andrew brought to the Statehouse. Last winter, when Governing Magazine honored him as Public Official of the Year, I was thrilled to go to Washington for the ceremony. Imagine what he’ll accomplish when he returns as a senator!

“I am happy to share my son; I just want to see him before the end of the year. Please honor my wish by contributing today. From our family to yours: Have a wonderful holiday!”

In a postscript, Caplan said, “With your help, we’ll feed Andrew a decent meal, fatten him up, and put him in office… I promise not to embarrass him again (until 2010).”

The e-mail — dispatched by Romanoff’s campaign — included no less than four links to the candidate’s fundraising form with incremental donation options, from $10 to $2,400.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton and her husband, former U.S. Attorney Mike Norton, e-mailed a holiday greeting of snowflakes falling over trees in the mountains. The scene included the sounds of a guitarist strumming a country western rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

The card simply read, “May the blessings of the season be with you now and throughout the New Year,” and was signed, “Jane and Mike.”

Republican candidate Cleve Tidwell’s e-mail echoed the spirit of his campaign message. It read in part:

“As we celebrate Christmas 2009 we must awaken to our role as citizens. Remember the time when a greeting of ‘Merry Christmas’ was met with smiles instead of sneers? Remember when uttering ‘God bless you’ was acknowledged with a polite nod instead of offense? Remember when morality and virtue were characteristics revered by all? Remember when God, country, and family were the priorities lived with proud conviction and honor, not with whispers and apologies?

“We the People have an omnipotent decision to make in 2010. It will be a choice of liberty or enslavement — that candid, that simple,” wrote Tidwell.

“I do not seek a career as a Senator; I simply seek to do the right thing; to preserve the Constitution of the
United States of America that we may not have to explain to our children and grandchildren how ‘Once upon a time we sold freedom.’”

“There can be no Christmas bells without the Liberty Bell,” declared Tidwell.

Republicans J.J. Ament, candidate for state Treasurer, and Rep. Cory Gardner, congressional candidate in the 4th district, put families first in their Christmas e-mails.

Ament shared photos of himself with his wife Nicole and their three adorable children — 7-year-old Eli and 4-year-old twins Sydney and Sam — creating gingerbread houses, standing in front of the Christmas tree and posing with sleds during a snowstorm.

“This is our family’s favorite time of year: with all the lights, Christmas pageants, gingerbread houses, gatherings of family and friends, candlelight services, and maybe even a few presents under the tree,” he wrote.

“Our daughter Sidney told Santa recently, ‘I’ve been medium-good this year,’” said Ament. “Here’s hoping we all do as well in 2010.”

Gardner, of Yuma, said that he and his wife Jaime want their 7-year-old daughter Alyson to understand the true meaning of Christmas.

“Christmas isn’t about getting every toy she asks for or the fancy decorations and commercial blitz,” penned the state representative. “Instead, we explained to her, Christmas is about the gift of life.”

“This year, we asked Alyson’s kindergarten teacher if there was someone in the class who needed a little help. Yesterday, (Dec. 22), we spent time looking for clothes for that child. Another lesson we hope Alyson will remember as she grows old,” said Gardner.

The candidate concluded the message with joy and well wishes.

“The snow is falling — rejoice in the season! May God bless you and your family!”

And from those of us at The Colorado Statesman — Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! Happy New Year!