June 3 2009, 10:39 AM
Retired Denver businessmanÂ Cleve Tidwell, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, says an "enthusiastic" volunteer "might have stepped over the line," by posting positive comments about him on a website. One comment reads, "I'm so glad to see someone with real business experience and a warm individual stepping up to help our state." Or was that Tidwell secretly typing up the online praise himself? That's the controversy surrounding online posts by someone named "Craig Platon," a name linked to an e-mail address used by Tidwell, according toÂ The Denver Post. Tidwell's campaign blasted the conservativeÂ Rocky Mountain RightÂ blog for making the accusation, saying it is playing favorites in the 2010 GOP race for Senate, providing favorable coverage to Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier's campaign while hammering his and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck's. (RMR also suggestsÂ a comment regarding Tidwell left onÂ 5280.comÂ uses an "identical writing style.") As for the volunteer that Tidwell claims wrote the flattering posts, Tidwell refused to identify her, telling the Post the woman quit the campaign. Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain Right was pleased to see Tidwell's response, accusing Tidwell of a form of phony lobbying called "astroturfing," adding hope that the incident serves as a warning to other Republican candidates "not to embarrass themselves" by engaging in it.