It’s no secret that Democratic leaders have been gunning for Secretary of State Scott Gessler almost since the day he took office.  But, today, after our Gessler article was posted, a loyal Peak reader reminded us that this was simply part of the Democratic playbook.  Literally. 

Below is an excerpt from the November 2004 Kerry Edwards Colorado Election Day Manual that urges political operatives to “launch a ‘pre-emptive strike’” of claiming voter intimidation – whether it’s true or not. Highlighting by the Peak.

The playbook reads, “if no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a “pre-emptive strike” (particularly well-suited to states in which there [sic] techniques have been tried in the past.”  After issuing a press release, operatives are encouraged to quote “party/minority/civil rights leadership as denouncing tactics that discourage people from voting.”Another part of the manual encourages readers to “link this fight to the historical fights to enfranchise minorities, going back to the civil rights struggle.”

All of this – again – before a single sign of voter intimidation occurs.

The playbook was exposed in an October 15, 2004 Rocky Mountain News article, in which then-Colorado GOP Chairman Ted Halaby charged that Democrats wanted to “rile up minorities to denounce tactics that do not exist.”  He further explained that it was “a criminal act to falsely allege something that does not exist.”

In an interesting twist, the RMN article also notes that whippersnapper Denver City Councilman, Michael Hancock, was all too willing to participate in the scheme.  Hancock (now Denver's mayor) was one of two minority councilmen quoted in a press release decrying voter intimidation after then-Gov. Bill Owens said that anyone defrauding the election process would be prosecuted.

Owens defended himself by saying, “We’re not trying to intimidate anybody.  I’m encouraging Coloradans to go to the polls.  I want it to be a fair and honest vote, not skewed by somebody who registered 35 times.”

Sound familiar? The more things change, the more they stay the same. But, one would think the Dems would have come up with a new tactic since 2004, no?