Entz denies using negative campaign tactics | AspenTimes.com

Entz denies using negative campaign tactics

John Colson

Aspen’s incumbent Republican state senator, Lewis Entz, is accused of having “gone negative” in his bid for re-election, despite his assurances that he would not use such tactics in the campaign.Entz is facing a stiff challenge from Democrat Gail Schwartz of Snowmass Village in the race to represent Senate District 5, which comprises 11 counties on the Western Slope.Both candidates said they deplore the flurry of negative advertising independent campaign groups known as “527s” conducted more than a month ago. The name comes from rule 527, the section of the tax code that permits such organization to collect and spend unlimited sums on behalf of candidates or cause.But a recent mass mailing from Entz’s campaign staff characterizes Schwartz as “an Aspen liberal [who] only understands the tax-and-spend special interests of her friends in Denver and Boulder.”The mailer also maintains that Schwartz is “an Aspen millionaire” who “doesn’t share the values or needs of families who live paycheck to paycheck,” and portrays Entz as “someone who knows our way of life … someone who has spent a hard day working on the land … a potato farmer from Hooper, Colorado.”Schwartz and her campaign staff issued angry rejections of the Entz campaign statements about her.”Since I started this race I have pledged to be positive and I have strived to hold my opponent accountable for his voting record, not to criticize him as a person,” Schwartz declared in a statement her campaign issued. “After hearing Mr. Entz denounce negative advertising in [Conejos] and Gunnison counties and pledge to run only a positive campaign, I was dismayed to see him turn to negative tactics.”Schwartz continued, “I’m not going to make attacks like the ones Mr. Entz is running against me. I have confidence in myself and my ability to lead the strongest fight to make sure that ‘Not One Drop’ of our water is taken to the Front Range and for a better education for our children, for renewable energy, to preserve our family farms and ranches, and to raise the minimum wage.”Entz, however, denied that the campaign mailer was negative, saying he had not actually seen it before it went to print and was mailed out, but he stands behind it.”They told me they were going to do a side-by-side [comparison of the two candidates], and I said, ‘Let’s do it,'” he said Tuesday.The points made in the mailer, he said, are “just the facts, that’s all there is to it.”He claims he has learned from the Pitkin County Treasurer’s Office that Schwartz and her husband, Alan, live in a house worth more than a million dollars.When asked if he thinks Schwartz is a millionaire, though, he replied, “I don’t know. I’m not going to check into her personal assets and income,” suggesting that “anyone who lives in a million-dollar house …” can be considered a millionaire.On his feelings about Aspen, he said, the mailing does lay out his belief that “it’s a different type of living than it is down here” in the San Luis Valley, the heavily agricultural area where he lives.”That’s a tourism economy,” he continued, “and this is an agricultural area. There’s a lot of difference … down here, everybody lives paycheck to paycheck. That’s just the way it is.”He also noted that he had read an Oct. 11 column in The Aspen Times in which Su Lum characterized him as “a jerk,” and lamented, “That’s how I’m appreciated over there, that I’m a jerk. I don’t appreciate things like that.”Still, he said, he does not consider Aspen unworthy of his attentions, even though he complained that “I try to hold meetings over there, and nobody shows.” He has repeatedly complained that the last time he came to Pitkin County for a public meeting with constituents, only three Republicans showed up.He said he plans to mail out two more pieces of literature before election day, and that neither will be along the lines of the most recent one comparing him to Schwartz. Instead, he said, they will be about water and other issues.John Colson’s e-mail address isjcolson@aspentimes.com