Politico plays “bury the lede” in a profile story entitled “Social issues fade in Colorado race” on Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.
When former Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave held the seat social issues were clearly the priority for Republican friends and Democratic foes alike.
But the 2010 election is decidedly not about those social issues, especially in Colorado. Voters in the state are concerned about the economy and jobs and federal spending.
Rep. Betsy Markey faces a tough uphill climb in her first reelection bid against Republican Cory Gardner. She hopes that a newly discovered sense of fiscal responsibility, opposing bailouts in a TV commercial and now standing with Sen. Michael Bennet and fellow Rep. John Salazar in pushing back against President Barack Obama’s newest spending proposal, “Stimulus II,” will put her in good stead with her district’s voters.
But her record says something quite different:
While Markey is a member of the moderate Blue Dog coalition who touts herself as a business-friendly fiscal conservative, even Markey acknowledges she took a trio of painful votes during her freshman term – supporting the federal stimulus, the health care bill and even energy climate legislation known as cap-and-trade. [emphasis added]
“We just can’t say no. I have taken some very difficult positions, but I was elected to really do something. [People] may not agree with me on all of my votes but they know I’m fighting for them every single day,” Markey explained, noting that the stimulus “has gotten us out of the recession,”
Markey touted her stimulus support and its successes on audio earlier this summer:
Markey later retracted that claim in a radio interview saying, “we still are in a recession.” (approximately 3:15 into the clip)
With unemployment at 9.6 percent, it is unclear whether that metric would provide adequate substantiation to Markey’s claim that the now $800 billion stimulus signed by President Obama in 2009 has achieved lifting “us out of the recession.”
Gardner’s campaign spokeswoman, Rachel Boxer, responded to BATTLE ‘10:
“Betsy Markey is out of touch if she thinks the recession is over and the stimulus worked. The fact is people are still hurting. Unemployment is at 9.6 percent despite the $787 billion stimulus she supported, which was supposed to keep jobless numbers under 8 percent.”
Promises of fiscal discipline in the future will be difficult for Markey, as she represents a top target for the GOP:
“If they win 30 to 35 seats, she’s one of them. As good as she is, she is clearly an Obama Democrat,” said Floyd Ciruli, an independent Denver-based pollster.
Markey elides her support for the original stimulus in a new campaign ad out this week:
“I’m Betsy Markey and I approve this message because Washington thinks spending more money is always the answer, and here in Colorado, that’s not how we do business.”