Original URL: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/election/article/0,1299,DRMN_36_1509373,00.html

Opponents of ballot initiatives hit ground running

By Michele Ames, Rocky Mountain News
October 29, 2002

A group formed to fight election-related ballot initiatives jumped to a strong fund-raising start just one week before Election Day.

The Citizens for Honest Elections campaign, headed by high-profile conservative pundit Jon Caldara, posted $55,000 for its fight to defeat four initiatives, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday.

"On their own, any one of these rich-guy initiatives is dangerous," Caldara said. "But in combination, they are absolutely devastating to fair and honest elections in Colorado."

The money came primarily from deep-pocket Republican donors, including apartment mogul Terry Considine and former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong. Both men gave $25,000.

"The question is, is it enough?" Caldara said. "It's spectacular.

"But compared to $2.5 million that a couple of rich guys are putting into their pet projects, is that going to be enough?"

Caldara's group plans to spend all its funds on radio ads, already airing.

Amendment 27 sets limits for how much individuals can contribute to candidates. Amendment 28 institutes mail balloting in most elections. Amendment 29 requires candidates to petition their way onto primary ballots and does away with the party caucus and assembly nominating system.

Amendment 30 would allow individuals to register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day.

The Bighorn Center for Public Policy, the group pushing amendments 28 and 29, is part of a think tank founded by millionaire Rutt Bridges. Amendment 30 is being financed by Internet millionaire Jared Polis.

Peggy Lamm, governmental director for the Bighorn Center, questioned Citizens for Honest Elections' intentions.

"I think it's interesting that this group, who apparently seems to be opposed to big money in politics, are themselves big money in politics," she said.

In other initiative-related news, English Plus, the committee opposed to Amendment 31, reported raising $51,632 during the end of October.

The National Education Association donated $50,000, which was used for a mailing, the report said.

Staff writer Burt Hubbard contributed to this report. amesm@RockyMountainNews.com or (303)892-2327



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