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.