New type of political organization joins Parker council election

Group set to file public contributor report on April 16

Elliott Wenzler
ewenzler@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/13/21

A type of political organization previously unseen in Parker's town elections has begun sending out mailers in support of two candidates for the April 20 special election. The two organizations, both …

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New type of political organization joins Parker council election

Group set to file public contributor report on April 16

Posted

A type of political organization previously unseen in Parker's town elections has begun sending out mailers in support of two candidates for the April 20 special election.

The two organizations, both registered by a Denver-based communications company, are separate from any candidate committees and haven't coordinated with the candidates, according to the mailers, the company and the candidates.

“I don't have any idea who they are (or) where they came from,” said Joshua Rivero, one of the candidates supported by the group. “They must agree with my message.”

A group of residents and non-residents reached out to Hansen Communications to ask for help in spreading the word about candidates Rivero and Anne Barrington, said Lynea Hansen, CEO and president of the company. 

“I think it's an alignment of their vision for the future of Parker,” Hansen said about why the group reached out to her about the candidates.

Reports listing contributors to these two political organizations will be made public after they are submitted by the groups to the town clerk on April 16.

Town Clerk Carol Baumgartner, who has been in the position since 1981, said this is the first time she has seen this type of organization register in a town election. The groups, called “Friends of Anne Barrington” and “Friends of Joshua Rivero,” are both registered as 527 political organizations, according to their registration paperwork.

Barrington and Rivero both said they were unaware of the organizations until they received or were shown the mailers.

“I was just as surprised when I got it in my mailbox,” Barrington said.

Rivero, who previously served on the town council from 2012 to 2020, said he was saddened to see such “big-time politics” coming into the Parker Town Council election.

“It's not what we used to do. When I ran in 2012 I put up eight signs, I stood on Mainstreet during the farmers markets and shook hands and talked to people,” he said. “That's not the way it is anymore. Now it's digital and it's signage and it's parties' backing and dollars coming in.”

Hansen, the registered agent for the political organizations, is the former vice president of the national public affairs firm Strategies360. She's also been involved in several initiatives and campaigns in Colorado, including the National Popular Vote, policy requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in homes, the initiative to help undocumented students get in-state tuition and John Hickenlooper's mayoral campaign, according to Hansen and her bio on Strategies360's website. She's also worked with Microsoft and the Higher Education Access Alliance.

Social media posts have connected Hansen to the candidates, questioning whether larger political goals are now at play in the election. Barrington is a registered Republican and Rivero is unaffiliated with any party.

Barrington responded by noting this is a nonpartisan election. 

“I think people will spin this however they want to in order to support their cause,” Barrington said. “I have no plans to change my party affiliation.”

Hansen said she doesn't see her involvement as indication that bigger politics are playing out in Parker.

“This is really about a town council race and it's about some folks who like what some candidates have to say … and want voters to know what their positions are,” she said.

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