Sorry there was no post last week. I was under the weather recovering from the flu. I plan to catch up this week.
Polling data released this past week (reported here) reduces the race to four contenders: Skorman, Bahr, Bach and Gallagher. So here goes with a few thoughts on each.
Skorman is the status quo candidate. He is the least likely to rock the boat or to make big changes in city government. From his list of contributors, he is supported by the major employee groups, and thousands with small contributions, He is quietly amassing a large cash stockpile to prepare for the run-off campaign. His March 7, 2011 report showed over $100,000 in the bank. If he’s smart, he’s doing opposition research on his most likely opponents on the run-off.
Bahr is the most difficult candidate to get a read on. He has nice catch phrases and seems to have the superficial down pat. His talk of “managed competition” must be getting some traction because he has made this the centerpiece of his campaign message. I remember the first time I met him I came away distinctly underwhelmed; I cannot seem to shake that first impression. I still wonder whether he has a complete grasp of the issues or comprehends the nuances of them. I expect him to be in the runoff with Skorman; so perhaps we will learn more in April about his depth of understanding.
Bach has quietly signed up the major players in Colorado Springs politics. The HBA, Chamber and Realtors all are supporting him. He will surely get some bounce from those endorsements. He is also the most likely to bring significant change to city government. You cannot really tell it from his website; at last check it was still paper thin. However, reading between the lines of his list of contributors and his public hedging on the issues one senses that the agitants of change are in his back room. I just do not see in him the ability to establish a rapport with the voter. This is a fundamental requirement for any political leader, how can one be a leader if there is nobody following?
Finally, this brings us to Gallagher. I have noted before that Gallagher is an over achiever. Ralph Routon recently wrote about Gallagher’s uncanny ability to get votes in a column in the Independent. I recall the first time I saw Gallagher in action. It was during the 2003 council campaign and all the candidates were at a forum out on Murray Blvd. The hot issue that year was whether Constitution should be an east-west thoroughfare. Gallagher was there, slightly overweight, smoking a cigarette, somewhat disheveled in his dress. And yet when he spoke that day he had the audience in the palm of his hand. He demonstrated that day and has ever since the ability to connect with the voter. He seems to channel the “angry man” and people identify with that. When he goes into a rant at council, I see this scene from the 1976 Oscar winning movie “Network.” With a little bit of money and someone with media savvy, Gallagher would be a dangerous candidate.
March 13, 2011