As November looms, the mud slinging has already begun with two CSU alums fighting for the U.S. representative spot serving Fort Collins.
Angie Paccione adamantly denied allegations made in recent radio ads that she still owes money on her college loan.
But she did admit to filing bankruptcy – something she and the Democratic party aren’t quite shielding.
“My Colorado student loan was paid back in full, every single penny,” Paccione said. She added that she isn’t ashamed to admit she was once in a bad financial spot, but has risen up from that point in her life.
“I can relate to people struggling to make ends meet,” she said.
A biography on the Colorado Democratic Party Web site talks about Paccione’s “personal experience.(in) poverty” and her openness about bankruptcy.
Paccione, for her part, has accused Musgrave of “corruption” and being in bed with special interests.
Musgrave, who in the ads that attack Paccione is heard as saying she “approves” them, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
As Paccione and Musgrave fire shots at one another, voters can be easily swayed by the campaign advertisements, negative or not, political experts said.
Some politicos are calling this race one of the most contested mid-term battles in Colorado – one with national implications.
William Chaloupka, chair of CSU’s political science department, says it’s clear negative campaigns, even involving someone’s character, have the ability to sway a vote.
“Ads may be negative but it’s attached to an issue and it’s saying, ‘elect me, I’m going to be different from that candidate,'” Chaloupka said.
Paccione has paid for at least two different radio spots attacking the voting record of Musgrave. She also claims Musgrave is in the pockets of powerful politicians and special interests.
Musgrave’s campaign over the summer found an envelope of dog feces at her Greeley congressional office. It was traced to a Paccione supporter, but the challenger’s office denies any involvement.
“In some ways, really aggressive campaigning is evidence of partisanship and that parties having been living and dying with this opposition,” Chaloupka said.
Staff writer James Baetke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.