AR-News: (CO) Iditarod sponsor, Coors, running for US Senate
Glickman37 at aol.com
Glickman37 at aol.com
Sat Apr 24 12:24:10 EDT 2004
Senate Beckons a Coors From Beer to Political Ads
By KIRK JOHNSON
Published: April 24, 2004
ENVER, April 20 — New York has its Rockefellers, Chicago its McCormicks, San
Francisco its Hearsts and Stanfords. Here the name is Coors.
Through philanthropy, conservative politics and, of course, beer making, the
Coors family helped shape Colorado. Fans watch baseball at Coors Field, where
the Rockies play. College students go to concerts at the Coors Events Center
in Boulder. The town of Golden, just west of Denver, where Adolph Coors went in
1873 to tap what he called the "pure Rocky Mountain spring water" for his
brewery, is still defined by the aroma of roasting malt that wafts from the
Now the Coors name — and the mountain of legend and baggage that goes with it
— hangs over what politicians in both parties say could be a race for control
of the United States Senate.
Peter H. Coors, the fourth generation of Coors men to head the Adolph Coors
Company, announced this month that he would seek the Republican nomination to
succeed Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Republican who is retiring.
While few people believe that victory is a sure thing for Mr. Coors, 57, his
name is unquestionably the one, at least for now, that stirs the drink. Some
think his deep pockets and family's ties to Colorado's storied past will carry
the day. Others say that because of his family's long connection with
conservative causes, its anti-labor-union policies and his political inexperience, Mr.
Coors will quickly become a giant punching bag.
The likely Democratic candidate, Ken Salazar, Colorado's attorney general,
recently labeled Mr. Coors "an aristocrat" who does not understand the lives and
problems of ordinary people. Mr. Salazar's campaign manager, Ken Carpenter,
continued that thought in an interview.
"Ken Salazar has broad experience in this state that money just can't buy,"
Mr. Carpenter said.
A spokeswoman for the other candidate for the Republican nomination, former R
epresentative Bob Schaffer, said the race would not be a referendum on Mr.
Coors or the Coors family, but rather on ability to get things done in Washington
— something, she said, that only Mr. Schaffer could claim.
Elizabeth Blackney, Mr. Schaffer's communications adviser, said, "Our
grass-roots supporters are interested in seeing what Mr. Coors stands for, but we
don't think anyone will waver."
National political experts say the Senate seat is anyone's to win, partly
because of the deeply mixed political legacy left behind by Mr. Campbell, 71, who
was elected as a Democrat in 1992, but then switched parties and won in 1998
as a Republican. Mr. Campbell, who is a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe,
is the Senate's only American Indian. He announced in March that he would not
seek a third term because of health problems.
Republicans control the Senate by one vote — they outnumber Democrats 51 to
48 and there is one independent.
"I don't think things are as dire for the Republicans as it seemed when
Campbell got out," said Jennifer E. Duffy, the Senate editor at the Cook Political
Report, a nonpartisan newsletter in Washington. "But I'd be surprised to see
it move out of the toss-up category — it's one of these races that's there for
Here in Colorado, many people say the biggest presence in the race is a man
who is not running — Mr. Coor's father, Joseph. The elder Mr. Coors emerged in
the 1960's as a spokesman and financial backer of the conservative agenda that
politicians like Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Ronald Reagan were creating.
He later helped to found the Heritage Foundation in Washington, which has
since become a bulwark of conservative research and thought.
It was during that period that that Mr. Coors became a political totem for
the left as well, as labor and liberal groups organized a beer boycott that
lasted well into the 1980's.
"My sense is that they've tried to package Pete as Coors light — that he's a
Coors, but not like his parents with the Heritage Foundation and the
hard-right crowd," said Chris Gates, the state Democratic chairman.
Mr. Coors's campaign manager, Sean Tonner, said his candidate's political
views were in fact quite similar to those of his father, but with one major
"Pete always realizes there needs to be compromise in order to move forward,"
Mr. Tonner said. "He's very much his own man."
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