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Just like Marcy 

The "tent" is big enough for all of us to work together

It was only last year that arch-conservative Republican Dave Schultheis made it clear that he believed state Rep. Marcy Morrison was nothing short of the devil's handmaiden.

Morrison's pro-choice position on abortion rankled Schultheis, and with single-mindedness he set out to defeat the moderate Morrison.

During his 1998 campaign, Schultheis attacked Morrison viciously, a tactic that the Republican lawmaker got used to from the rigidly right local and state GOP machines that tried to defeat her time and time again.

Schultheis has never played it up, but he's also a member of the secretive and exclusive Council for National Policy, a national group that includes such ultraconservative public-policy wonks as Phyllis Schafley, Oliver North and Focus on the Family President James Dobson, who happens to live in House District 22. The district includes Manitou Springs, parts of the Westside, northwest and central Colorado Springs.

Schultheis lost the 1998 race. And now that Morrison will be term-limited from running for another term, he is whistling a completely new tune.

In a recent letter mailed to past Morrison supporters, Schultheis announced he's running again in 2000. This time, he implies he has admired Morrison's inclusive approach all along.

"Today, the Republican Party is torn by internal tensions," Schultheis wrote in the letter. "Different 'camps' can't seem to get along and compromise on the big issues. This doesn't need to happen in our local party. Personally, I think the 'tent' is big enough for all of us to work together."

In fact, Schultheis suggests, he is just like Morrison!

"Rep. Morrison has worked hard on behalf of the voters of our district for many years. She has a reputation of working tirelessly for the issues and goals she feels are important to all of us. She has the reputation of being tenacious ... goal oriented ... and focused, when it comes to policies that affect the elderly ... the infirm ... and the less-fortunate. She has championed the health-care issues that affect us all.

"Like Rep. Morrison, I too am very concerned with the health care issues that face us all."

Unfortunately, Schultheis' gushing praise -- and his newfound willingness to get along -- comes a little too late for Morrison. The self-described Rockefeller Republican sent out a letter this week announcing that next year's legislative session will be her last.

Morrison has been urged to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. MaryAnne Tebedo, who is also term-limited. Instead, Morrison plans to abide by term limits passed by Colorado voters and, rather than play public-office musical chairs as so many of her colleagues are doing, she plans to hang up her political hat.

"From a political viewpoint, my ride has been anything but typical or easy," Morrison wrote. "Perhaps that has made it all the more special. In a partisan context, I have been elected six times -- twice as a county commissioner and four times to the Legislature. In five of those six races, I faced intense, well-funded opposition from the powers that be within the local Republican Party ... And I note with pride that in every instance I prevailed.

"I prevailed not by compromising myself, but by being myself. My style has been one of openness, candor, responsiveness and, even in this era of increasing political polarization, unapologetic moderation."

And, though Morrison is too classy to admit it, a style of honest compassion. We can only hope that, if Schultheis is elected, he has learned well from his newfound heroine.

In the race for presidential cash, Colorado Springs is Gary Bauer country. According to the Center for Responsible Politics, the Republican presidential candidate raised more than half of the $109,917 he has collected so far statewide from Colorado Springs, home of his brother-in-arms James Dobson.

In fact, Bauer has so far raised more money in the Springs than any other candidate running for president in 2000. The Center for Responsible Politics, a non-partisan Washington think tank, reports that Bauer collected $56,375 from Colorado Springs contributors between Jan. 2 and Sept. 30. By comparison, George W. Bush came in second at $33,000.

Bauer's popularity here should, of course, surprise no one. After all, he ran the Family Research Council, the political lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, until he stepped aside to run for president. And, while the two organizations are now legally separate, ideologically they are joined at the hip.

Bauer may be the darling of Colorado Springs, but statewide, he came in fifth in campaign contributions. George W., has so far collected $591,000 in contributions, more cash than both of his Democratic rivals combined (Vice President Al Gore has pocketed $400,000, and Bill Bradley, $141,000). Republican John McCain came in fourth, with $122,000. Bauer came in fifth, with a little more than $100,000.

Here are the top money raisers in areas of Colorado broken down by city and region:

Denver: Bush, $422,000; Gore, $324,400

Boulder-Longmont: Gore, $36,400; Bush, $36,200

Fort Collins-Loveland: Bush, $10,600; Bauer, $8,100

Grand Junction: Bush, $9,000; Bauer $700

Greeley: Bush, $22,200; Gore, $7,300

Pueblo: Bush, $3,000; Gore, $1,500

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