Sunday, April 24, 2011

Do consensus candidates make sense?

Like many Denverites, I've found myself torn between candidates for mayor (although Westword's "Speed Candidating" feature has been both entertaining and helpful). By most accounts, Chris Romer, the son of the former governor, seems to have the broadest range of mainstream Democratic backers. But he's also got a pretty impressive array of Republican endorsers, including some conservative students of mine, as well as former state senator Josh Penry. (Penry, BTW, is the guy who probably would be governor today if he hadn't been pushed out of the Republican nomination race in late 2009.)

It's interesting to consider the perspective of Republicans living in a Democratic city having to choose among a bunch of Democrats to be their mayor. Romer's probably the most centrist of the major candidates, and the fact that he stuck it to the teachers' unions no doubt appeals to Republicans. And on one level, it's impressive that such a broad ideological array of people are backing Romer.

On another level, it's disconcerting. I have a great deal of respect for Josh Penry, but if you were to compare our voting records over the past decade, I'd be shocked if we voted the same way more than 15 percent of the time, and even then it was probably just voting no on some of the sillier initiatives. Really, we should not be supporting the same candidate, and if we are, at least one of us has made a serious miscalculation about who that candidate is.

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