One of the 3rd Congressional District voters who filed a mysteriously funded lawsuit this week aimed at denying state Sen. Don Coram a chance to unseat U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert in the June 28 Republican primary previously backed an effort by the congresswoman’s campaign to discredit Coram.
David “Dee” Laird, of Montrose, wrote nearly identical letters to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and The Durango Herald in March criticizing Coram for trying to access the ballot by collecting petition signatures instead of going the caucus and assembly route.
“Before being cajoled into signing his petition, voters should take a few moments to educate themselves and do their own background check on Coram. Check out corruptcoram.com,” Laird wrote in both letters.
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Corruptcoram.com is a website created by Boebert’s campaign to dubiously attack Coram, who is also from Montrose, over his work on hemp policy at the Colorado Capitol, calling it self-dealing because the state lawmaker once cultivated hemp himself.
The site is part of a broader advertising initiative by Boebert targeting Coram ahead of the primary.
The link between the lawsuit and Boebert’s campaign to undermine Coram is one of the strongest indications yet that the congresswoman and her supporters are taking Coram’s primary bid seriously.
The letters to the editor were signed by a “Dee Laird,” who, when reached by The Colorado Sun this week, confirmed he is the same man who joined three other 3rd District voters in filing the lawsuit (read it here) in Denver District Court seeking to overturn the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office’s decision to place Coram on the primary ballot.
Another one of the plaintiffs, Dale Ruggles, donated $250 to Boebert’s campaign in February 2021.
The lawsuit, first reported by 9News, alleges the office improperly accepted 390 of Coram’s signatures and that they should be tossed out because of various alleged infractions, including that some of the signature gatherers improperly listed their home addresses.
Coram submitted 1,568 signatures the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office ruled were valid, just clearing the 1,500 signature threshold to make the primary ballot. That means that if even a fraction of those 390 are thrown out by a judge, Coram’s campaign could be over.
Coram declined to comment on the lawsuit at length, but told The Unaffiliated, The Sun’s politics newsletter, that the legal action is a “result of a campaign that feels threatened.”
Most political operatives expect Boebert to cruise to victory in the primary, but the ad campaign and lawsuit, combined with the big spending of Boebert’s campaign last quarter — more than $700,000 — suggest Coram may have a point.
Laird declined to say who is providing the financial backing on the lawsuit. “I can’t comment on it,” he said, referring questions to the lawyers handling the case.
Suzanne Taheri, a former deputy secretary of state in Colorado, and George Brauchler, a former 18th Judicial District attorney, are the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
Taheri and Brauchler also declined to say who is financing the lawsuit. “Can’t get into attorney/client stuff,” Taheri texted.
Coram said that a few weeks ago, before he turned in his signatures, he approached Taheri about working for him and she declined, citing a conflict of interest. Taheri represented Boebert in a federal lawsuit in which the congresswoman was unsuccessfully sued for blocking people on Twitter.
Boebert’s reelection campaign did not respond to a request for comment about whether it has anything to do with the legal action.
The case will have to be resolved quickly as the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is set to certify the ballot by the end of next week.