While everyone else in the Legislature has been working hard over these last couple of months to come up with a bipartisan solution to redistricting, Sal “The Fist” Pace has decided the process is better used to serve his own personal political ambitions.
At issue is Sal “The Fist” Pace's public complaints about the delay in preliminary maps being released by the Joint Select Committee on redistricting. Earlier in the week the committee announced a one week delay in releasing the maps due to their having received the 2010 voter participation numbers from the Secretary of State's Office later than expected.
Fellow Democrat and former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher warned Pace and other legislators last December that compiling the 2010 information this early would be a “monumental feat,” as this information is normally requested much later in the year, but the Secretary of State's Office has been working overtime to have it ready earlier this year.
Rather than go through proper channels to discuss his concern over a delay in 2010 election information, Pace decided to use the Pueblo Chieftain to air his concerns, claiming “the data would be skewed in Republican's favor.”
That, rightfully, infuriated those who are working to ensure a fair and equitable process, so that a redistricting map can be passed by the Legislature, and not the courts, for the first time in 30 years, earning him a rebuke from Speaker McNulty in a letter:
“I cannot tell you how disappointed I am at the prospect that you would put your own ambition for higher political office ahead of the bipartisan committee's work to draw a fair map that will best represent all of Colorado's citizens,” McNulty said.
Rich Coolidge, spokesman for both Democrat and Republican Secretaries of State, smacked down Pace's partisan posturing, pointing out that the information was turned in three months ahead of schedule.
While all of the other 99 legislators have been able to play well with others on redistricting, a typically heated partisan affair, it's not a surprise that The Fist has chosen not to.
This increasingly loud and self-aggrandizing role that Pace is taking is sure to cause some serious strain with not only Republicans but fellow Democrats like Senate President Brandon Shaffer who has put a great deal of effort into ensuring a bipartisan and equitable process for redistricting.
All of Shaffer's work at keeping his caucus in line will be for naught if Pace continues to seek public venues to air his grievances. Shaffer will have a hard time telling other legislators, such as Pace's likely primary opponent Gail Schwartz, who sits on the redistricting committee, to keep their discussion private while Pace mouths off to any publication in the 3rd CD who will listen.
This is not the first time that Pace has attacked a bipartisan process to aid his own political future. Earlier this week Pace released a press statement attacking the bipartisan budget deal as protecting campaign donors and giving tax cuts to corporations.
We're betting this public posturing and self-aggrandizing behavior from Pace is beginning to get very old, very quickly for Senator Shaffer and other Democrats. Pace is not the only one planning for run for higher office next cycle, but yet the others rumored to be lining up have been doing their best at keeping themselves focused on the task at hand — bipartisan solutions to the state's economic problems — and not their own political futures.
Maybe, at the end of the day, Pace is just bitter that he didn't get appointed to the redistricting committee, and Gail Schwartz did.