Democrats Dinged for Tax Hikes in Ad Blitz

September 18, 2012

HOULTON:  “From taxpayer-funded lavish trips to calling school children ‘maggots and worms,’ it’s clear [Hudak, Tyler and Primavera] are too extreme for Colorado.”

DENVER — The fight for control of the Golden Dome has just been kicked up a notch. Conservative group Compass Colorado released three tough TV ads Monday hitting three Democrats in tight races. They mark the first TV ads of the 2012 election cycle to focus on races for the State Legislature.

The spots hit incumbents State Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) and State Representative Max Tyler (D-Lakewood), as well as former State Representative Dianne Primavera (D-Broomfield), who is looking to reclaim her seat after being defeated in 2010.

Each ad has at least six figures behind it, although the total buys were not released by Compass Colorado.

The ads are slated to run for four weeks on cable.

The ad blitz is a continuation of Compass’s “Dirty Dozen Lawmakers” campaign that began last December when the organization named a group of 12 legislators who had “stifled economic recovery and job creation” through bad economic policies.

None of the three targeted candidates responded to requests for comment from The Observer on the ad campaign.

“Sen. Hudak and Reps. Tyler and Primavera have spent their political careers taxing Colorado small businesses, hard-working families, and senior citizens,” said Tyler Q. Houlton, president of Compass Colorado in a press release. “From taxpayer-funded lavish trips to calling school children ‘maggots and worms,’ it’s clear these three legislators are too extreme for Colorado.”

That last bit is a reference to charges leveled in the ads against Rep. Tyler and Sen. Hudak.

Under the tagline “Max Tyler is wrong for Colorado” the ad targeting Rep. Tyler hits the Lakewood Democrat for what Compass Colorado says are $3.32 billion in new taxes. While the ad starts with the tax hike hit, the toughest jab focuses on Tyler’s infamous analogy of school children who struggle with learning to a baker who is given dough with maggots and worms. The analogy was made in an argument against an education reform bill opposed by the state’s largest teachers’ union, the Colorado Education Association.

“Max Tyler’s War on School Children shows how out of touch he is with basic human decency,” said Houlton.

Tyler is in a tough race with Republican challenger Rick Enstrom, of the famous candy maker family, in House District 23.

The Hudak spot contrasts what Compass calls Senator Hudak’s “lavish spending” on taxpayer funded trips with votes in support of $4.27 billion in new taxes, framing the dichotomy as “lavish trips for her, higher taxes for you.”

While on the State Board of Education, Hudak ran up the second largest travel tab of the seven-member board — $11,316 in 2007 — with expenses such as room service at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and limo service in Washington, DC. Now-Congressman Jared Polis ran up a $997 tab by comparison, which he reimbursed the state for afterwards, according to the Associated Press.

Hudak is currently battling Republican challenger Lang Sias — a former Top Gun instructor — in Senate District 19.

Finally, the Primavera ad targets its message at reminding voters why they “fired” the former Broomfield State Representative in 2010, when she lost to Republican Don Beezley, who decided to step down after one term to focus on his business.

Bringing the “Dirty Dozen” theme full circle, the ad hits Primavera for supporting the “Dirty Dozen” tax increases which raised rates on everything from candy and soda to internet sales. After listing a litany of tax increases Primavera has supported, it ends asking voters “why in the world would you hire Dianne Primavera this time around?”

Primavera is running against Republican Dave Pigott, an Iraq War veteran, in House District 33.

While many state legislative campaigns cannot afford to purchase TV airtime themselves, the rise of outside political group spending on legislative races has upped the ante, and cost, of winning competitive races.

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