Lost in the whole Larry Craig scandal is the story of another Congressional Republican who is finding himself caught red-handed on tape.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) left two threatening voice mails with a couple in his district after they wrote a letter to their community newspaper accusing him of accepting money from the gambling industry.
In a letter to the editor, Jonathan and Anna Bartha implied that Lamborn was a hypocrite for taking a $1,000 contribution from the International Game Technology PAC while publicly opposing gambling. Jonathan Bartha is an employee of Focus on the Family, while his wife Anna worked as a scheduler for Lamborn’s GOP primary opponent in 2006.
The letter prompted Lamborn to call the couple twice and leave two voice mails on their machine. In the first message, Lamborn implored them to correct the record “as a brother and sister in Christ.’ The second message threatened the couple with “consequences to this kind of thing” but then offers to work with them “in a way that is best for everyone here concerned.”
Lamborn apologized to the couple in a letter for his remarks and said he had already returned the donations, but his public voice mail is already beginning to have a political impact.
He’s facing a rematch against his former primary opponent, Jeff Crank, in what was an unusually nasty primary last summer. A third-party group backing Lamborn accused Crank in a mailer of “supporting the radical homosexual agenda.” The attack backfired on Lamborn, but he narrowly won the primary amid hard feelings on both sides.
Lamborn’s GOP predecessor, Joel Hefley ,was so outraged by the attack that he refused to endorse Lamborn in the primary, and is now aiding Crank’s bid to unseat the freshman Republican.
Now, the two voice mails may be added ammunition for Crank as he takes on the daunting task of unseating an incumbent in a primary.