DENVER – Democratic state Rep. Joe Miklosi’s Congressional campaign has undergone some major staff changes since he announced his bid in July 2011, including a recent change of campaign managers and the departure of a finance director that resulted in a dispute over pay.
In late April, Miklosi, a Denver Democrat, replaced his campaign manager Dean Meinen with Joe Hamill. Meinen was transferred to the position of campaign political director. The previously unreported change comes after other internal turmoil that has left some lingering issues.
Miklosi is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, who is seeking a third two-year term.
Miklosi’s original campaign Finance Director Kirsten Boyd, daughter of State Senator Betty Boyd (D-Lakewood), left the campaign late last year. Boyd is a longtime Democratic operative, whose experience includes working for former State Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald and running the fundraising operation for U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff in 2010. Romanoff lost his primary bid to Democrat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
Boyd told The Observer last week that she is no longer with the campaign. Because she had not been fully compensated for her work, Boyd said she filed a complaint for back pay with the Department of Labor. Boyd did not say whether the complaint was filed with the federal Department of Labor or the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Campaign finance reports filed by the Miklosi campaign with the Federal Election Commission show that the last payment to Boyd was on October 11, 2011 for a total of $1,674.71 for “Salary.”
When asked about the complaint, Meinen insisted it had been resolved, though he declined to go into the specifics.
Boyd disagreed. She told The Observer that she had not been paid in full. An hour after the interview, however, she called back and asked that her statements not be printed, but Boyd did not disavow the veracity of what she had said.
The Miklosi campaign did not respond to numerous requests for comment on Boyd’s assertion that she has not been fully compensated.
It’s not just the Boyd pay dispute that is roiling the Miklosi campaign. When asked by The Observer about whether another staff member was still with the campaign, newly-installed campaign manager Hamill responded: “Maybe.”
Hamill said some field staff had been hired in preparation for an expected Democratic primary, but he declined to elaborate on any campaign staff changes.
Dr. Perry Haney was running for the Democratic nomination against Miklosi, before dropping out unexpectedly in February, saying he couldn’t afford the time away from his medical practice that a campaign for Congress would entail.
Staff turnover in Congressional campaigns is not entirely uncommon. The hours are long and the pay is meager. Additionally, when campaigns are struggling, candidates often look to shake things up with staffing changes.
Miklosi’s campaign has been beset with problems big and small. He has been attacked for leaving his home in his legislative district in Denver to move to Aurora, which constitutes the epicenter of the 6th Congressional District. He has also struggled to raise funds to keep the race competitive with Coffman, including a major defection by Democratic Party powerbroker Steve Farber who donated $2,500 to Coffman’s campaign and hosted a fundraiser for Coffman as well.
Though the 6th Congressional District race is listed on the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report as a toss-up, conventional wisdom in Colorado has drifted towards the sense that Coffman is firmly in the lead. Colorado political analyst Floyd Ciruli told that The Observer in March that the race “leans Republican.“