Colorado vot­ers slap Bloomberg again

This time, he backed a tax in­crease

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY VALERIE RICHARD­SON

DEN­VER | The big­gest loser in this year’s Colorado elec­tion cy­cle may have been New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Colorado vot­ers kicked the mayor to the curb at the bal­lot box again Tues­day, re­ject­ing a pro­posed statewide in­come-tax hike backed by Mr. Bloomberg just two months af­ter ush­er­ing out two Demo­cratic state se­na­tors who sup­ported his gun­con­trol agenda.

Mr. Bloomberg sunk $1 mil­lion into the $10 mil­lion cam­paign for Amend­ment 66, a pro­posed $1 bil­lion tax in­crease to fund K-12 ed­u­ca­tion. De­spite an enor­mous spend­ing ad­van­tage — op­po­nents of the bal­lot mea­sure only raised about $20,000 — Amend­ment 66 lost by a whop­ping 66 per­cent to 34 per­cent.

The lop­sided de­feat comes af­ter Mr. Bloomberg was un­able to save Demo­cratic state Sens. An­gela Giron and John Morse in the Sept. 10 re­call elec­tion, even though both Democrats en­joyed a huge fund­ing edge, thanks in part to a $350,000 dona­tion from the mayor.

To top it all off, vot­ers in the town of Tel­luride, Colo., doused a pro­posal Tues­day to add an ex­cise tax to sales of sug­ary soda pop. Af­ter gun con­trol, the mayor may be best known for his fight to limit con­sump­tion of sug­ary soft drinks.

Mr. Bloomberg can’t say he wasn’t warned.

Even Gov. John Hick­en­looper, a Demo­crat, hinted last month that the mayor’s in­volve­ment may have been hurt­ing more than help­ing, telling USA To­day that Coloradans “don’t re­ally like out­side or­ga­ni­za­tions med­dling in their af­fairs.”

Foes of the tax in­crease were in full I-told-you-so mode Wed­nes­day af­ter elec­tion re­turns showed Mr. Bloomberg suf­fer­ing another ig­no­min­ious de­feat.

“Bloomberg is now 0 for 3 in Colorado in 2013. When will this guy learn to just stay away?” said Morse re­call or­ga­nizer Rob Har­ris in a mes­sage on Twit­ter.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Bill Cad­man re­leased a state­ment Wed­nes­day call­ing Amend­ment 66 “another ex­am­ple of the count­less ex­treme lib­eral poli­cies be­ing pro­moted and funded in Colorado by out-of-state bil­lion­aires.”

Re­fer­ring to both Mr. Bloomberg and Mi­crosoft founder Bill Gates, who chipped in another $1 mil­lion to the tax-hike cam­paign, Mr. Cad­man added that he hoped the next leg­isla­tive ses­sion would re­flect “the will of the peo­ple — I mean those who ac­tu­ally live here.”

Colorado has be­come an ir­re­sistible test­ing ground for out-of-state po­lit­i­cal play­ers pro­mot­ing their is­sues be­cause of the state’s small size, pur­ple-state cre­den­tials and rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive me­dia mar­kets. The pop­u­la­tion is just 5 mil­lion, and the Den­ver me­dia mar­ket is ranked 17th in the na­tion and Colorado Springs-Pue­blo is ranked 90th.

What Mr. Bloomberg’s re­cent mis­ad­ven­tures show is that money can’t al­ways buy votes, an­a­lysts say.

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg should think about a dif­fer­ent post­mayor ca­reer. In­vest­ing in Colorado elec­tions is not only a los­ing propo­si­tion, but his name and money is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive,” Den­ver poll­ster Floyd Cir­uli said in a Wed­nes­day blog post.

“And while Amend­ment 66 was ill-po­si­tioned from its in­cep­tion, Bloomberg did not help and pos­si­bly re­in­forced, if not ini­ti­ated, some late ‘no’ votes,” Mr. Cir­uli said. “Move on Michael, move on.”

Mr. Bloomberg fared bet­ter Tues­day in Vir­ginia, where he con­trib­uted nearly $2 mil­lion to help elect Demo­crat Terry McAuliffe as gov­er­nor.

Stu Loeser, spokesman for In­de­pen­dence USA, a Bloomberg-fi­nanced po­lit­i­cal-ac­tion com­mit­tee, said the mayor has no in­ten­tion of step­ping out of the po­lit­i­cal arena, es­pe­cially when it comes to crack­ing down on firearms.

“We’ve done it in New York, we can do it in other places, and Michael Bloomberg is go­ing con­tinue to help can­di­dates across the coun­try who sup­port com­mon­sense gun laws,” Mr. Loeser said in a con­fer­ence call. “He’s go­ing to help them get their mes­sage out. The specifics of what that means are things you will see over the next weeks and months, more like months and year.”

Be­fore plow­ing more money into Colorado, how­ever, an­a­lysts say Mr. Bloomberg may want to think twice, or at least make his con­tri­bu­tions less trans­par­ent.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sunk $1 mil­lion into the Colorado cam­paign for Amend­ment 66, a pro­posed $1 bil­lion tax in­crease to fund ed­u­ca­tion but vot­ers Tues­day de­cided oth­er­wise — re­sound­ingly.

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