Published: November 17, 2013
In 2009, a Democrat friend of mine was driving to a Democrat function when another driver swerved into her lane and cut her off. After recovering from the scare, she realized that she and the other driver were making the same turns. She followed him all the way to the event's parking lot. When he stepped out of his car, she recognized State Rep. Michael Merrifield.
As soon as I heard that story, I understood Merrifield's decision earlier in 2009 to serve as House sponsor for SB148, which requires motorists to give cyclists a 3-foot berth. The bill's Senate sponsor was Republican Sen. Greg Brophy, who brought the perspective of a notoriously avid cyclist. Merrifield brought the perspective of an erratic driver. Rather than examining and correcting his behavior, he criminalized his behavior in everyone else. Then he continued to swerve around town with special legislator's license plates.
Merrifield's aptitude for the boorish is well-documented. In 2007, Merrifield found himself in boiling hot water after writing of pro-school choice advocates, "There must be a special place in Hell for these Privatizers, Charerizers, [sic] and Voucherizers! They deserve it!" This positioned Merrifield far to the left of the Democratic mainstream, which is generally supportive of charter schools. He was forced to resign his chairmanship of the House Education Committee.
After leaving the state House, Merrifield ran for the Colorado Springs City Council. After learning he'd lost, instead of graciously conceding to his Republican opponent, Merrifield said, "It shows that 50 percent of the district prefers party over performance."
Senate District 11, the seat of Merrifield's latest ambition, is home to more Democrats than Republicans. He must be hoping this new constituency will ignore past performance, too. But Merrifield, who until recently was on Michael Bloomberg's payroll as state director for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, might be in for another rude awakening.
Bloomberg's contribution did nothing for Amendment 66. His efforts on behalf of Sen. John Morse backfired.
Campaigns associated with Bloomberg crash and burn.
Now is Merrifield's chance to prove he really is a special exception to the rules.
Daniel Cole is the executive director of the El Paso County Republican Party.
Lois Fornander's response:
Michael Merrifield stepped down as chair of the House education committee in 2007 - he was undergoing treatment for cancer. After recovering, he resumed his position until term-limited. In 2008, he experienced his largest margin of victory. Clearly, constituents were pleased with his performance.
Today's research also shows Michael was right about the problems created by school privatization. His position on gun safety will, likewise, be proven correct.
Cole's ad hominem attack on Merrifield is irrational and intended only to disgrace a good man. He may or may not have cut off someone once. What has that to do with the safety of motorcyclists?