The Senate District 11 race is intensifying, with incumbent Republican Ed Jones’ backers accusing Democrat challenger John Morse of being a carpetbagger.
Meanwhile, Morse has more than doubled Jones’ fundraising. This week, the Colorado Republican Party accused Morse of being a carpetbagger because he moved into the district in time to seek the office. Morse moved from his condominium to an apartment on Nov. 2, 3 or 4, 2005, he said, when his campaign discovered his former home lies 10 blocks from the district. He still owns the condo, but his legal residence is within the boundary of the Senate district. To qualify, candidates must live in the district for a year before the general election. Morse meets the requirement. He noted Republican Bob Beauprez moved from the 2nd Congressional District to the 7th District to run for Congress. Also, Republican Kent Lambert moved to House District 14, where he is now a candidate, after Democrat Michael Merrifield defeated him two years ago in House District 18. “I’ve lived in Colorado Springs for 30 of the last 38 years,” Morse said. “I just don’t see the issue. I’d rather be talking about education and health care and senior policy instead of talking about, ‘Did you move into the place you live in accordance with the law?’ ‘Yeah, next question.’” Another challenge came Monday from The Trailhead Group, a 527 organization set up and backed by top Republicans, Gov. Bill Owens included. In a news release, Trailhead said Fountain’s 2003 crime figures reported by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are different from those contained in an e-mail Morse sent Oct. 18, 2003, to the city manager. “I don’t know where the CBI numbers came from,” said Morse, who served as the Fountain chief of police. “I strongly suspect they were submitted after I left the Police Department” in November 2003. Last month, Trailhead broadcast ads and sent mailers blaming Morse for a plea bargain that allowed a man who fired shots during a Halloween 2003 police standoff to plead guilty to a misdemeanor because of bad police work. The man pleaded guilty to a felony, and a deputy district attorney defended the work of Morse’s department as professional. The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is investigating after Morse filed a complaint alleging the ads violate a law that bars anyone from “knowingly” making false statements in campaign material. “They’re doing this because they don’t want to defend Mr. Jones’ record,” Morse said. “He voted to cut Medicaid spending for legal immigrants. He voted to cut the old-age pension health care fund. . . . He sponsored a bill to eliminate affirmative action in Colorado.” Morse also noted Jones hasn’t attended recent candidate forums. Jones said he had a previous commitment during an August forum and wasn’t invited to one held last week. As for his votes on health programs, Jones said, “I’d have to go back and look at that particular bill. There had to be something else that would make me vote against those.” He noted his campaign has nothing to do with Trailhead, and he is discussing issues such as public safety, school violence and school choice with voters as he walks precincts. State records show Morse leading in cash. He’s raised $68,718 from 390 contributions this year and has $29,755 on hand, according to reports filed last week. About 56 percent has come from sources outside El Paso County. “I’d love to have 100 percent of my money coming from El Paso County, but El Paso County is not accustomed to funding Democrats,” Morse said. Jones has raised $27,095 from 88 contributors and has $15,746 on hand. About 87 percent has come from outside the county. Jones said a hotly contested Congressional District 5 primary drained Republican campaign money from other races. Saying he doesn’t pay attention to contributions, Jones said, “I do have a lot of friends all over the state and across the country who think my ideas are pretty good ideas.” The Senate District 11 race could be pivotal in determining if the Democrats hold the Senate, which they control, 18-17. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0238 or email@example.com