Playing the domain name game in race for Pitkin County sheriff
ASPEN – The race for Pitkin County sheriff has taken a twist on names in cyberspace.
For most of Monday, those who visited joedisalvoforsheriff.com wouldn’t find any campaign info on Joe DiSalvo, who’s running for sheriff. Instead, they were routed to sheriff candidate Hugh Zuker’s campaign website.
DiSalvo’s campaign website is disalvoforsheriff.com, but the domain name joedisalvoforsheriff.com had been up for grabs – until July 5, when the web address was acquired by Pamela Zuker, wife of Hugh, records show.
Pamela Zuker’s name is listed as the administrative and technical contact for the DiSalvo site, which apparently had been rigged so that when users tried to visit it, they instead were routed to candidate Zuker’s site.
Through Pamela Zuker, Hugh Zuker issued a statement suggesting that the tactic was misguided.
“The website was grabbed about a week ago and pointed to hughforsheriff.com by someone on my team who took some bad advice from a campaign strategist. I’m not someone who will try to spin a bad thing into a good thing, so I’ll just take full responsibility for this error in judgment. The link has been disabled and if Joey wants the site, he can have it.”
After 9 p.m. Wednesday, the site had been disabled.
DiSalvo likened the tactic to the 1960s, when literature was stolen from candidates’ mailboxes by their opponents, in an effort to gain some kind of edge.
“It’s redirecting my name to his site,” said DiSalvo, the undersheriff. “This is Aspen politics at its weirdest.”
Zuker is president of Mountain Rescue Aspen, and is a part-time deputy with the sheriff’s office.
There is no indication that the Zuker camp has bought any sites attached to the names of the other two candidates – Patrick “Rick” Leonard and Rick Magnuson. The incumbent, Bob Braudis, is not seeking re-election and will step down in January.
The top two vote-getters in the Aug. 10 primary election will face off in November.
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