With John Hickenlooper continuing to run so strongly in early polls of the 2006 Colorado governor’s race, it was only a matter of time before the right-wing focused its slime machine on the popular Denver mayor.

The opening salvo was fired yesterday on Political State Report, a usually responsible blog.

The site’s Republican correspondent breathlessly reports:

After careful research and a undercover investigation, there appear to be some skeletons in Hickenlooper’s closet.

As most 5280 readers know, Hickenlooper owned a bunch of Denver bars for more than a decade before being elected mayor, so, let’s face it, there’s likely to be good dirt, right? So what have the Republicans come up with?

The first [and] probably most damaging reason for Democrats to reconsider the viability of Hickenlooper’s candidacy is the existence of several photos of Hickenlooper with local Denver area drag queen Nuclia Waste. Some photos are available here. You can also see Nuclia Waste in her natural habitat here, here and here. These photos would be devastating to Hickenlooper if they were used in a television campaign.

Ya think? The guy got elected by airing TV ads that showed him trying on goofy suits and riding a scooter around town. If anything, the old photos provide graphic proof that Mayor Hickenlooper has developed into a far better dresser than Candidate Hickenlooper.

So what else? Well, there’s the shocking (shocking!) news that Hickenlooper supports gay marriage and last year’s debate over religious groups at the Parade of Lights.

Both, obviously, have been wide reported and neither seems to have put even the slightest dent in Hick’s sky-high poll numbers, either in Denver or the surrounding suburbs.

These kinds of attacks, however, aren’t aimed at Denver voters, or even, perhaps, suburban voters. The likely targets are voters in the rest of the state, and even more likely, Hickenlooper himself. Consider it a warning shot across the mayor’s bow — enter the race, and we promise it’ll be ugly.

Our bet is that Hickenlooper won’t be intimidated by such tactics (if he were, in fact, to decide to run). How the rest of the state reacts, well, that’s another question altogether. With 80 percent of the state’s electorate living here in the Front Range, it may not matter.

Daniel Brogan
Daniel Brogan
Daniel Brogan is the founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of 5280 Publishing, Inc.