Nov 012006
Authors: Geoff Johnson The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Eric Eidsness did inhale.

However, Eidsness, the Reform Party candidate in the 4th Congressional District race, said he doesn’t smoke pot anymore.

“It puts me to sleep,” he joked.

Still, he said he believes all drugs should eventually be legalized and controlled.

“Up until the war on terror, the war on drugs was the biggest drain on our budget,” he said.

Eidsness, however, doesn’t support Amendment 44, the measure on November’s ballot that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for adults 21 and older, he told students Wednesday in the Lory Student Center Plaza.

He said that 44 would make it difficult for law enforcement officials to distinguish between what is legal and what is not.

He added that marijuana should be legalized because of its medicinal benefits and not because of people who just want to smoke it.

While he has been endorsed by the majority of newspapers within the district – including Marilyn Musgrave’s hometown paper, The Fort Morgan Times – Eidsness was shown in a recent poll to hold only 5 percent of voter support.

“The papers know me better (than voters),” he said. “(The newspapers) are ahead of the curve because they read their own reports.”

Eidsness discussed the fact that 37 percent of voters in the district are unaffiliated, saying that if all the people who really think he is the best candidate would go out and vote for him, he’d win.

“I don’t think there’s anything special about me,” he said. He pointed to the fact that even voters who are affiliated are moving toward the middle – somewhere between Democrat and Republican.

“The issue is electability,” Eidsness said. “It’s hard to get known when you only have $30,000.”

The seeming futility of third-party candidates in the current American political culture was illustrated when a man spoke to the candidate in the Plaza on Wednesday.

The man placed his hand fondly on Eric Eidsness’ shoulder and spoke to the Reform Party candidate softly.

“I think you’re the best candidate, but I have to tell you, I had to vote for Angie,” the man said. He declined to give the Collegian his name, saying that he couldn’t because he was with the Paccione campaign.

Eidsness, who is running against CSU alumna Paccione, a Democrat, and Musgrave, a Republican, had a simple reply: “I hear a lot of that.”

John Straayer, a professor of political science at CSU, says Eidsness “has done a lot with $30,000.”

Straayer also said Eidsness is right in terms of his lack of ‘electability’ within the two-party system. Even if voters think Eidsness is the right person for the job, Straayer said, they might think they’ll be throwing their votes away.

Straayer says Eidsness has had a large impact on the 4th Congressional District – especially as a possible spoiler.

“A Republican might think that voting for Eidsness will just take votes away from Musgrave,” Straayer said. “They’re essentially right in terms of calculations.”

Of the incumbent, Straayer said, “Musgrave is vulnerable, and if she loses, it could be attributable to Eric Eidsness.”

Eidsness said he doesn’t care if people vote for him.

“If you don’t like my view, then good for you,” he said.

Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at

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