In Coloradoʼs nail-biter of a gubernatorial race between incumbent John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez, marijuana has played a surprisingly small role in the election — mostly because the two leading candidates have each been vocally opposed to legal cannabis.
“Both parties, left and right, are the same people,” says Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon, who is running as an independent candidate for Colorado Governor. Dunafon believes that either Hickenlooper or Beauprez intend to “regulate [legalized] marijuana out of existence,” and has made this the flagship issue of his campaign. A former Denver Bronco, Beauprez first became a city council member, then the mayor, of the small enclave of Glendale (buried within the city and county of Denver) after helping fight regulations that threatened local strip club Shotgun Willies — the owner of which he would go on to marry. He distances himself from the libertarian movement, but maintains a pro-gun, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage stance, objecting to government imposition on personal freedoms.
His stance on marijuana has won him the favor of musician Wyclef Jean — who collaborated with Dunafon on a rapping campaign video — and most recently Snoop Dogg, who has endorsed the candidate and is helping to arrange a three day music and comedy festival over Halloween weekend in Glendale to help promote his candidacy. During a gubernatorial debate earlier this month, Governor Hickenlooper said Amendment 64ʼs legalization of cannabis was “reckless,” followed by Bob Beauprez saying he would like to see the amendment repealed. Though similar statements didnʼt stop many Colorado marijuana businesses from donating tens of thousands of dollars to Hickenlooperʼs campaign.
Dunafon is currently funding his campaign out of pocket, refusing to accept any corporate donations because “once that happens, you owe the man that gave you that money,” he says, adding that he believes the marijuana companies that donated to Hickenlooper are “cronies who want to solidify their gains and make sure that no one else gets in.”
More Coloradanʼs voted in favor of marijuana legalization in 2012 than did to elect Governor Hickenlooper by a margin of four points — the same number of digits heʼs currently trailing behind Beauprez according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. Dunnafonʼs chances of winning the election are not within the realm of possibility, though the small number of votes he could steal from either candidate could have a significant impact on a race analysts are calling “a tossup.”
Photo Credit: yosoynuts
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