HD 52 Race a Key Component to TBTH in 2012

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Two unexpected and welcome developments occurred on Friday in local politics–Representative Don Beezley abruptly announced he would not be running for re-election in HD33, a seat he narrowly won in 2010. His win against Dianne Primavera gave the Colorado GOP a one-seat majority in the State House. It is safe to say that this race should be on your radar as it is considered a prime pick up opportunity for Colorado Democrats in their bid to take back the House.

The second development with less fanfare but equal enthusiasm occurred in Fort Collins on Friday with the announcement from Joann Ginal that she has thrown her hat into the ring to run for Representative John Kefalas’s House seat in District 52. (Kefalas is running for retiring Senator Bob Bacon’s seat.)  

HD52 is a critical House seat for Democrats–this seat is currently in Democratic hands. If it stays in their column, chances drastically improve for retaking the majority in the House. This race depends largely on having the right candidate who can consolidate support, raise money and get out the vote for races up and down the ticket.

Joann is not another recycled party insider–she has real life experience in how to make ends meet. Her dad was a WWII vet who went on to serve as a police officer for 25 years. Her stay at home mom raised 3 children in a working class environment with the family’s focus on sending their children to college where they could earn an education in order to have better lives with better opportunities.  

She worked a minimum wage assembly line job to help put herself through school, has a Masters in Zoology and earned a Ph.D. in Reproductive Endocrinology from Colorado State University.

Notably, Joann is the first LGBT candidate to run for office in this district and is now the fourth announced openly LGBT candidate running for the legislature in 2012.

She has worked for 20 years as a scientist in medical research and has been active in local community causes for two decades. She has served for eight years with the Fort Collins Human Relations Commission and also worked as a Master Naturalist. Joann has done plenty of knocking on doors for local candidates and has a good idea of the time and dime involved in running for the State House.  

Something I find particularly fascinating is her work involving environmental issues in South America and Africa. Considering the current upheaval and future uncertainty regarding the Cache la Poudre River as well as the ongoing issues of water shortages as the Front Range expands, I was particularly impressed to note her educational work in that area–some desperately needed expertise considering the state of things in my own backyard.  

Joann has led educational expeditions for several years in the Amazon River region of South America and safaris in Africa. She has witnessed first hand the biological complexity and fragility of the earth’s rivers and forests, and will work hard in the House of Representatives to protect our ecosystems in Fort Collins and Colorado for future generations.

Within less than 72 hours, she has amassed an impressive array of endorsements as well as raise nearly $2,000 on her newly activated Act Blue Page.

A few months ago, 2009 mayoral candidate Tom Griggs announced for HD-52. Griggs’ one attempt to announce an endorsement–using Rep. Judy Solano’s name–quickly led to a public apology on his part since he hadn’t gotten her permission to do so.

In light of blunders like that, it would appear from her endorsement page that local elected officials and Democratic opinion leaders are rallying around Joann as the candidate who won’t put the seat in jeopardy of a Republican takeover.

The list is a Who’s Who of activist Democrats both locally and statewide.

Her endorsement page includes:

Randy Fischer

State Representative

Rhonda Fields

State Representative

Angie Paccione

Former Representative

Sue Schafer

State Representative

Bernie Strom

Former State Representative

Gina Janett

Former Fort Collins City Mayor Pro Tem

Susan Kirkpatrick

Former Fort Collins Mayor

Ben Manvel

Fort Collins City Councilmember

Lisa Poppaw

Fort Collins City Councilmember

Joan Shaffer

Loveland City Councilmember

Tom Balchak

Poudre School District Director

Cathy Kipp

Poudre School District Director

James Ross

Poudre School District Director

Nancy Tellez

Poudre School District Director

Guendolyn Argrow

Elaine Boni

Debra Bustos

Eliza Carney

Gordon Coombes

Deb Ellingson

Nancy Fleischhacker

Susan P. Hall

Mims Harris

Carol Henderson

KC Hogan

Gerry Horak

Karen M. Langdon

Steven Lucas

Jan Martin

Julie J. McQueen

Ann Molison

Laura Nealon

Sandra K. Russell

Paul Schnaitter

Mark Shaffer

Scott Skogerboe

Dian Sparling

Cordelia Stone

Lucin Turner

Linda Wagner

Gary Wockner

Joann Ginal’s website can be found here. Her campaign seems to be up and running full steam ahead. In the interest of full disclosure, I will be volunteering heavily on this race as I and every Democrat in this state have a vested interest in taking back the House next year. With Joann Ginal, our odds just got a whole lot better.  

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ah Choo says:

    Attracting the interest of Gill Foundation donors and the Victory Fund to HD-52 will be very good for the district and eventually Fort Collins turnout–and will help Joann immensely.

    Tom’s political ineptitude has made him into a local legend. But using Judy Solano’s name without her permission is simply inexcusable as well as pathetic.  

    • Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

      Tom Griggs has excellent credentials in his values. His education issue credentials are second to none. He has dedicated his professional career to multilingual education. He has good name recognition fromh his previous campaigns.

      He may have made some errors in previous campaigns, but I see no reason that he shouldn’t pursue this seat. Non-professional politicians fair very well in Northern Colorado.  

  2. BlueBoulder says:

    I am so relieved to learn about Joann, and to see she has such a strong base of support already.

    I’ve heard A LOT of concern from my Larimer friends about Tom Griggs’ candidacy. He would put a good Dem seat in serious danger of a Republican takeover. Sometimes candidates run campaigns and lose, but they distinguish themselves and earn a lot of respect, which helps them run for something else in the future. Tom is not one of those candidates.  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      that I am breathing a huge sigh of relief and feeling mighty grateful at this point. Tom’s a nice guy who has run twice and done it badly both times. I was feeling pretty low about our chances of keeping this seat with him as the candidate.

      With Joann, I’m suddenly feeling energized and ready to spend some time and dime down in Fort Collins–she is going to raise some serious money for this race and will work overtime to keep this seat in Dem hands. And HD52 needs a candidate with that level of commitment if we intend to hold this seat.  

  3. Obvious Alias says:

    Not my district, but I’m curious to hear what the concern was — looks like he raised almost 10K in a few weeks:

    http://tracer.sos.colorado.gov

    • Middle of the Road says:

      who the contributors are and the amounts being given.

      From your link:

      Tom has been in the race for nearly two months (he declared September 26) and raised $9,715.24…of which over $1,030.00 of that is his own leftover money from his failed State Board of Education campaign in 2006.

      8/27/2011 Monetary (Itemized) TOM GRIGGS FOR STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION 520 N. SHERWOOD ST. #12

      FORT COLLINS, CO 80521

      $1,030.60 $1,030.60

      FUNDS FROM GRIGGS FOR STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION A…

      Ginal has been in for 72 hours and raised $2k, that we are aware of, on her Act Blue page.

      Perhaps that comparison will give you some idea of the level of support for Tom and for Joann.

      Also, note the names and amounts for Tom Griggs. $400 is the max for an individual running for the State House/$800 max for a couple. Many of his contributions are in the $15 to $35 range–not exactly a raging vote of confidence. I recognize a great many of the names of his donors and those are pretty small amounts coming from them…and at a time when he was the sole Democrat running for this seat.

      Tom ran for mayor of Fort Collins in 2009 and got a measly 32% of the vote, which means he couldn’t even get his own Democratic base to consolidate behind him and vote for him. That’s why folks in Larimer County have privately and publicly expressed their concern about his candidacy and viability to win this district.

      • Obvious Alias says:

        Your comment about 2 months is disingenuous — that filing was mid October.  You say he filed his campaign in late September, and the report shows that the filing period ends in September.  Based on that, the 8K (removing the 1K he has from another race), was raised very quickly — actually much better than the candidate you support.

        So either you don’t realize that new $$$ doesn’t show up or you are intentionally trying to mislead people.  Given that you have some basis of knowledge about these things, I’m inclined to assume it’s the second.

        Now that we have that out of the way, I am curious about the Mayor’s race.  Any actual commentary on why he didn’t do better?

        • Middle of the Road says:

          so let’s give this another go, shall we?

          I would implore you to read the dates given next to the donors names. They go back as far as August 6, 2011, before he had his official roll out at Avogadro’s in September.

          I would implore you to look at the amounts given next to those donors’ names. Do you know the donors? I do and those are pittances compared to what they normally give to House races. Particularly when Tom was the only candidate in the race at the tie. Doesn’t exactly scream confidence, does it? Well, except to maybe you.

          So now, according to you, Tom’s raising awesome funds since he brought in $8,600 since his first donation on August 6th through September 30th and doing better than a candidate that has raised one quarter of that amount–$2K (that we know of since all we have is the Act Blue page to go by)–in 72 hours.

          And yes, I grant you, he may have raised significant cash since October 1st through today. I have no idea. I have no idea what Joann is raising outside of her Actblue page, either. I do know that what I see him raising in 2 months versus 72 hours leaves me less than impressed.

          And in your world, that equals Tom doing “much better” than the candidate I support. Okey dokey. I want to live in your world. It must be fun there.

          Now that we have that one out of the way, I’ll let someone else school your ass on why Tom can’t get Democrats to back him, in mayoral races or anywhere else, for that matter.  

          • Obvious Alias says:

            Then do it in a way that you don’t just sound like a press release shilling for a candidate.  BlueBoulder does so below.  You may want to take note.

            Given that most of your comments have the intellectual depth of a dry lake and you give your opinion as fact on a regular basis, I assume diaries you right have the same fangirl level of analysis as most of what Cronk writes.

            As to what you do actually manage to get out in between frothing bits of nonsense, I’m glad to see there are two candidates who show an ability to raise money up there.

      • Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

        I have family in Northern Colorado.

        Tom has a fine reputation. If there is going to be a primary, then civil debate of ideas should be the forum in which the people choose a nominee. It should not be a preemptive hit job on the blogs.

        Most candidates run more than once. A base is built.Name recognition, along with campaign experience,  makes for a better nominee in the general.  

    • BlueBoulder says:

      I’m curious to hear what the concern was

      from my Larimer Democratic friends. This is kinda harsh, but lots of people asked Tom not to run. They think he’ll put HD-52 in jeopardy of a GOP takeover.

      1. He’s run for office twice now and lost both times. The worst was his 2009 mayoral campaign. He only got 32% of the vote on his “I’m the progressive” message, which meant a huge of amount of Democrats didn’t vote for him. He’s just not an effective candidate.

      2. And Tom’s created this reputation of a perennial candidate. Some people resent he goes around saying he’s a “Democratic leader,” when he’s never done anything except hang around waiting for something to run for.

      3. He announced without the support of any major local elected official, while Ginal had a ton of them as well as Sue Schafer & Rhonda Fields. The fact that Joann is able to line up that support also shows that local elected Democrats are rejecting Tom’s candidacy.

      4. If you look at the non-elected people on the endorsement list, you may see that most of them are really influential local Dems that other local voters and donors listen to. The message there is obvious.

      5. Then there’s Tom’s flub using Judy Solano’s name without permission! It just shows he’s just not ready for prime time.  

      6. Put all that together, and local Dems are worried that Tom Griggs on the ballot not only puts the seat at risk because of because he turns off activists and voters in droves, but it will drag down John Kefalas and hurt the whole ticket in Fort Collins.

      Tom got in early and did a good job raising a bunch of money (while claiming he had cleared the field), but a lot of that is going to dry up now that he’s picked the low hanging fruit and local activists are going to start taking a look at Joann to prove she’s a more viable candidate.  

      • Obvious Alias says:

        This are they types of things I was curious about and (more important than my curiosity) are what need to be explained if you want to make a claim about why an existing candidate should step out of the way for another candidate (as opposed to the situations where there are two good candidates and people should vote for whoever they believe in more).

  4. redstateblues says:

    As far as I’m concerned, the more LGBT candidates we can get in Colorado, the better. The LGBT community in northern Colorado is very strong, and it’s past time for NoCo (and FoCo) to have an strong leader like her.

    From the sound of it, if Ginal can get in an make a big splash, there will be national money rolling in as well as the local support that she’s already gotten.

  5. lchisesi says:

    Tom has made two other errors.  He should have backed out of the race for State BOE when Bob Schaffer got in.  He would have saved himself a lot of time,aggrevation and money.  Dem’s could have celebrated that they saved their powder for another day.  Joann was smart to sit that one out.

    Mistake #2:  Running against a popular mayor who was up for one last term.  Could have saved himself a whole lot of time, aggrevation and money by sitting that one out too.  Progressives could have celebrated that they saved their powder for another day (the 2011 race!).  Joann was smart to sit that one out too.

    I imagine I will see Tom within the next 30 days somewhere, and I’ll advise him to get  out of this race.  It is clear the insiders don’t want him, and if he is lucky enough to get on a ballot, he’ll find the CSU connection in a low turnout primary too much to overcome.  But I doubt he will listen to me.  Tom believes there is work to be done that he can do, and until voters turn him out, he will keep running.  This race will be about jobs, Colorado’s version of a state health care plan, public education and taxes.  I am sure Joann will make a strong candidate but could someone fill me in again on her unique contributions in these areas?

    BTW, why does anyone think the Repubs put this back in play?  They are dispirited up here, have a shallow bench and are losing their Congressman (hopefully), whose money and influence keeps them feeling like they’re meaningful.  Unless former Mayor Doug runs I can’t think of anyone they’ve got who could win, and I have heard no such talk.  

    • MichaelEllis says:

      It’s been a swing district that actually leans GOP, but John Kefalas was able to overcome that with his sterling character, highly amiable personality, and relentless work ethic. John earns votes from people who don’t even agree with his positions very much, but they like him and trust him to serve with honesty and integrity, and to genuinely listen to their dissent and engage them in real conversation about it.

      And don’t write off the GOP bench in Larimer County.  It’s not just Mayor Doug. Diggs Brown is still in the wings, and Ray Martinez has been acting like a potential candidate lately. Those are some formidable options for the Larimer GOP, especially if Diggs gets some better political advice than he’s received in the past (not mentioning any names other than “rhymes with douche-ay.”)

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