Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Did increased vehicle registration fees cost Jim Rice his legislative seat?

The morning after learning he had lost his seat in the state House of Representatives, Joe Rice was resigned but not dejected.

Republican political newcomer Kathleen Conti had narrowly defeated the veteran Democratic state legislator Nov. 2 in the District 38 contest.

“The fact that I didn’t get completely blown out, the fact that I ever won, is more amazing,” Rice said, referring to how he gained a seat four years ago in this traditionally Republican district.

The question many were asking in the days after the election: How did a popular second-term politician, who was known as a moderate, enjoyed bipartisan support and had more campaign money to spend, lose this race?

According to Rice’s website, the Iraq war veteran and former mayor of Glendale had garnered endorsements from the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, Colorado Veterans for America and every former Littleton mayor going back to 1971, among others.

Rice outspent Conti by nearly three to one. According to filings with the Colorado Secretary of State, he raised nearly $130,000 in campaign contributions for this election cycle, ending Oct. 27. Conti raised $44,000.

Rice attributed his loss to many factors, including the national anti-Democrat, anti-incumbent sentiment, his support of the FASTER bill and negative campaign advertisements that inundated voters’ mailboxes, TVs and radios in the weeks leading up to election day.

“I would not blame losing on any one thing, it’s always a combination of things,” Rice said.

Rice said that when he pushed the FASTER bill, which raised vehicle registration fees to fund road and bridge repairs, he knew it could ultimately cost him his job.

“There’s a reason nobody did anything on transportation for 18 years,” Rice said. “Absolutely, FASTER was a contributing factor (to my loss). But if I would have not run FASTER, and I think that’s one that probably would not have happened without me, we would probably still be having issues. I didn’t get elected to get re-elected.”    - More

1 comment:

  1. FASTER was clearly the main criticism of Rice, and it is unfortunate that he lost. However, even as a moderate Democrat, his position was precarious, for he had been a Democrat in a Republican seat for his entire tenure.