HD-24′s Lesson: It’s Not About You

Kristian Teegardin.

Kristian Teegardin.

We want to take just a moment to revisit a story from last week's Colorado Statesman, wherein lies a moral:

House District 24 Democratic candidate and Edgewater City Councilman Kristian Teegardin is not concerned that a past criminal history for attempting to pass a bad check will hurt him in a divisive primary against Wheat Ridge progressive policy strategist Jessie Danielson, or in the general election if he makes it there.

Teegardin was arrested at 29 years old in 2002 after attempting to pass the bogus check at an urgent care medical facility near where he lived at the time in Bloomington, Ind. He was charged with a misdemeanor for “check deception.”

He failed to make his initial court hearing on Jan. 21, 2003, resulting in a warrant issued for his arrest, according to Monroe County Circuit Court documents obtained by The Colorado Statesman.

He was then arrested on Feb. 2, 2003 in Bloomington, Ind. at 2:38 a.m. after a routine traffic stop revealed the outstanding warrant, according to a Bloomington Police Department arrest report. Teegardin was booked and jailed for the offense. He was also charged with having an expired license plate…

In the days since this story, there's been a bit of consternation about the potential use of this incident against HD-24 Democratic candidate and Edgewater council member Kristian Teegardin–by his Democratic primary opponent, which seems less likely, but more importantly by Republicans in the general election. To be clear, what we're talking about is a misdemeanor charge stemming from a 2002 bad check in Indiana for the sum of $123. The check offered was for medical care at an urgent care clinic, and it's tough to argue with the necessity of medical treatment after a bicycle accident as he claims was the case. Emergency medical care, as our readers know, is a situation that frequently puts consumers in dire financial straits.

The trouble, as seems to be the concern today among Democrats, is that Teegardin's decade old bad check could put an historically safe seat into play in November as a potential Republican pick up. Although HD-24 has been held by Democrats for a long time, the district has similar competitive numbers as Rep. Max Tyler's HD-23–a district where Republicans have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for the past two cycles. With Republicans expected to make a vigorous play for both the Colorado House and Senate this year, any weakness is going to be exploited to the absolute limits of believability–and then some. Any diversion of resources to counter Republican attacks due to an avoidable problem reduces the ability of Democrats to compete in other targeted races. If successfully attacked, a wounded candidate can affect other overlapping and adjacent races.

Again, none of this is intended to make more of this very minor incident than what it is. And it's certainly nothing personal. The problem is that the other side will not be in any way understanding about this, and will exploit it for its maximum strategic value–which affects more than Teegardin. With a viable Democratic candidate already in the race, these are real-world considerations that should render the question academic.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Progressicat says:

    I love how the left on left violence can be so genteel.  Why, my stars and garters, I do believe that my bladed utensil may have pierced the outer layers of your epidermis and lodged in your lumbar muscle tissue!  How careless of me.  I know you were going through some hard times and all, and have since reformed your ways, but we have such lovely other candidates and, well bless your heart.

    Who wants to run should run.  Let the folks of the district pick the one they want, win or lose.  If we believe people can turn their lives around, then we need to mean it.  When the color of a district on a map becomes more important than our principles and electing the best candidate for the job, we've already lost.

    • bullshit!bullshit! says:

      I personally agree with Pols on this race, but your first paragraph is hilarious.

    • BlueCat says:

      If they have any sense the folks of the district won't choose this guy because there is no point in making something that should be easy less easy. Sorry. It is what it is.

      • Progressicat says:

        It is what we make it, and this seems to be the recipe book we're working from.

        I'm likely in the minority, but I'd rather lose the district than contort my beliefs to fit a model whereby folks who have a past and have made good (e.g. Rhonda Fields) are only OK when we don't have another candidate standing by or the math looks good.

        • Andrew Carnegie says:

          P is right and will part this earth for a higher place.

          Pols is practical and will not be so blessed.

          • Ralphie says:

            It never ceases to amaze me how righties are so arrogant that they think they know what God wants.

            • BlueCat says:

              And this particular rightie is so honest about the fact that being lying scumbags is their recipe for success.

              Apologies to Progressicat but poltics isn't for saints.  Giving seats to the GOTP when the GOTP 's policies are so awful or enhancing its ability to obstruct decent policy for the sake of making a high minded point, even though good lower risk candidates are available, is a great way to make sure things are more screwed up for everyone than they have to be. 

  2. horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

    Pols, inquiring minds want to know why you have kept a folded photo of Kristian Teegardin in your wallet for so long.

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    Reason #217 that It's the sons and daughters of our wealthier families who are mostly able to run for office as adults . . . 

    . . . it often takes a substantial amount of money to erase those misdemeanors of youth — just ask GHWB. 

  4. IndyNinjaIndyNinja says:

    I know very little about these candidates and I support neither, but I am 100% with Progressicat on this.

    Either you are letting something affect your decision or you aren't. 

    What if this was a gay candidate and someone said "Well, I certainly don't care that he's gay, but we should nominate someone else because the other side might use his sexual orientation against him."

    That would be unacceptable, wouldn't it?

    I find this backhanded attack of a viable candidate pretty gross, personally. 

    If you don't believe that it matters, than you should be fighting to defend him instead of explaining why it is ok not to. 

    I am so sick to death of democrats ceeding the field when you are on the just side of an issue just because something is scary. You are damn cowards and that's the reason why the moralistic jackasses on the right continue to walk all over you. It's also why important issues like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Immigration Reform are taking 20 years longer than they should. 

    Grow a spine and go tell people what you believe and why. Stop waiting for them to come to you. 

  5. Cogito says:

    Hey, I'm a Democrat-leaning independent who actively supports the efforts of ex-offenders to reintegrate into society,  But I'd still have trouble voting for this guy unless I heard a lot more to undo my initial impression.  It's not just that he wrote a bad check (whatever the reason, he took services not intending to pay for them).  He also didn't show up in court when ordered to do so and then drove on an expired license.  I COULD be convinced it was not a reflection of his respect for the laws he wants to help pass if he could show that he has greatly matured since then.  But he's already given the other candidates of both parties a head start.

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