Carbondale draws electioneering line |

Carbondale draws electioneering line

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesKen Brenner, a candidate for Colorado's Senate, chats with a voter across the street from Carbondale Town Hall Tuesday, after he was asked to distance himself from the polling place at Town Hall.

CARBONDALE ” Ken Brenner was apparently within his rights as he campaigned outside Carbondale Town Hall on Tuesday morning, but he moved across the street anyway.

Brenner, the Democratic candidate for the Colorado Senate in District 8, was greeting voters and holding an election sign at the end of the front sidewalk outside Town Hall when an unidentified woman in an SUV sporting a “NObama” bumper sticker pulled up, shouted at him for violating the law against electioneering “on public property,” and stormed inside the building.

The woman demanded the town clerk’s office summon the police, said Town Clerk Cathy Derby, but instead, Derby stepped outside and politely asked Brenner if he would move his activities across the street. He complied.

Ironically, a staffer had already come outside with a tape measure to make sure Brenner was at least 100 feet from the door of the polling place at Town Hall, as is required. He was.

“I don’t want people to get up in arms,” Derby said. “I asked him to move. As a gentleman, he did it. It just proves what kind of guy he is.”

By law, Brenner didn’t have to vacate his spot on the outer sidewalk in front of Town Hall, she conceded.

Across the street, he remained on public property, pointed out a volunteer with the voter advocacy group Just Vote Colorado when the complainant emerged from Town Hall. The woman then claimed candidates aren’t allowed on Town Hall property and that she was making sure rules are followed. “I don’t care how much you try to fix the election…,” she told the volunteer.

Brenner, a Steamboat Springs resident, said he’d knocked on 26,000 doors since he launched his campaign last March. It began in Carbondale.

“This is an area that we want to make sure we’re successful. There are some core Democrats in this area,” he said, explaining his decision to campaign in person in the Roaring Fork Valley on Election Day, given he can’t be everywhere in sprawling District 8.

Brenner said he was starting the day in the lower Roaring Fork Valley before heading over to the Eagle Valley and then, perhaps, making a stop in New Castle before ending the day in Steamboat.

Brenner is battling Republican opponent Al White for the state Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Jack Taylor, who is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. The district covers six counties, including the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County that encompasses El Jebel and some of Basalt, as well as the part of Garfield County that includes Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

Face time with voters one last time in Carbondale was worthwhile, Brenner said.

“Voters acknowledge the sincerity of your effort,” he said.

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