HD-9 Republican candidate Celeste Gamache has found an unlikely “campaign director,” former State Representative Ruth Prendergast.
Prendergast, who represented Denver in the State House for two terms from 1981-1985, currently sits on the board of the anti-tax Colorado Union of Taxpayers. There’s nothing strange about those qualifications, of course. Quite the opposite; they make Prendergast the ideal campaign manager for Gamache’s uphill bid in the heavily Democratic district. What’s novel about Prendergast’s role, then, is her age: the former lawmaker will turn 84 in December.
The octogenarian has remained heavily involved in politics long sense she left the House. Ten years ago, Prendergast led the bi-partisan Save the Caucus campaign against Rutt Bridges’ Open Balllot Access Initiative. She was also one of the first Republicans to endorse Tom Tancredo’s third-party bid for governor last year – no surprise, as the two briefly served together in the early 80s. In return, Tancredo last month presented Prendergast with the Denver Republican Party’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Still, at age 83, Prendergast is probably one of the oldest campaign managers in the entire country right now. Although it’s more likely she’s only advising and lending her name to the Gamache campaign and not actually managing its day-to-day operations, that she’s still influential in southeast Denver Republican circles some thirty years after leaving office is remarkable either way.
No matter how impressive her accomplishments are, however, Prendergast won’t be able to add a Gamache victory to her lifetime achievement list: Democrats maintain a 15% registration lead in HD-9.