Fear and loathing? Mostly just loathing on this campaign trail | AspenTimes.com

Fear and loathing? Mostly just loathing on this campaign trail

Chad Abraham

District Attorney Colleen Truden’s weekends are taken up with politics these days.While reiterating her belief that most citizens in the 9th Judicial District are paying little attention to the effort to recall her from office, Truden nonetheless uses her off time to plan strategy, she said.”I spend a fair amount of time on the weekends devoted to informing the public about what’s going on with the DA’s office and about the truth about the DA’s office,” she said.But her campaign is also making for longer days during the work week.Before heading to her Glenwood Springs office this morning, for example, Truden will speak for five minutes at the Parachute chapter of Kiwanis International. District attorney candidate Martin Beeson will get the same opportunity a week from today, said Steve Randol, the chapter’s program chairman.Residents shouldn’t expect bumper stickers or T-shirts to pop up ahead of the election, both Truden and Beeson said. But Truden has had some yard signs made, and she also sends out a newsletter about the office to as many people as possible in the district, comprising Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties.”Of course, we don’t have a way of direct distribution,” she said. “Some of it’s via e-mail, some of it’s the hard copies that we hand-deliver to people or people pick up. That sort of thing.”Since making it onto the recall election ballot earlier this month, most of Beeson’s efforts have been behind the scenes, including making lists of people he would like to speak with about his campaign.”We’ve got meetings, speaking engagements with groups,” he said, referring to civic organizations such as Kiwanis and the Rotary clubs. “The schedule’s filling up real quick.”Both Truden and Beeson continue to say, not surprisingly, that they receive support from virtually everyone they meet.The candidate said that “nine out of 10 people were really positive about my candidacy and getting this DA recalled.” The incumbent said she often chats with people going in and out of the Glenwood courthouse, “and [they] give me a hug and say, ‘Hang in there, this is all going to get over within a couple weeks.'”Truden has indicated that she believes most of the public sees no problems with her administration so far. The Dec. 13 recall election will take place nearly 11 months from her first day in office.”I don’t think there’s ever been a high level of interest,” she said. “I think there’s been a handful of people who have made it a priority for their life.”I think for the majority of people, it’s not on their radar screen.”She also denied that the court system has clogged up due to the turnover in the district attorney’s office. Seven deputy district attorneys and several administrative staff members have resigned under Truden. Most of those who quit harshly criticized her; two helped initiate the recall campaign, including Beeson; another is suing her, and yet another lodged an ethics complaint about her with the Colorado Supreme Court.”I don’t think that the average citizen out there sees this as anything more than a bunch of grumbling, growling, disgruntled, sour-grapes folks. That’s what I keep hearing,” Truden said.She has also been criticized for hiring and paying her husband $6,000 for six weeks of work, as well as allegedly lying to county commissioners, mismanaging criminal cases and spending 74 percent of her annual budget in her first four months. Some of those funds went to replace a computer system that her predecessor said was fine and for a remodel of the Glenwood office to improve the space for citizens and witnesses.Truden has steadfastly denied the allegations against her and has said her office is handling more cases than ever because of a better relationship with police.The Colorado secretary of state’s office announced the election date Oct. 18; both Beeson and Truden have said that less than two months is not enough time for an in-depth political campaign.”It all depends on Dec. 13, who gets out and votes. If those people with an ax to grind can muster a lot of people to share their point of view … because they need jobs, they want jobs. I don’t think Martin’s currently employed – he’s got all the time in the world to go out and tell people the continued lies and distortions that they’ve been telling people,” Truden said. “Do I have time to do that? Absolutely not. I’m running an office, I’m working full time.”Beeson said voters have a chance to “remedy a mistake that we all made last year, and that’s going to result in her being recalled and me being elected. I feel real good about it.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com

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