University of Colorado regent candidate Matt Arnold posted the home addresses of his opponent and three of his opponent's supporters on his campaign website, prompting calls to law enforcement from campaign activists worried about their safety.
Arnold said he posted the home addresses and contact information in response to his supporters being "subjected to repeated harassing" phone calls and e-mails, urging backers to drop their endorsement of Arnold.
Arnold wanted his supporters to answer back against the supporters of his opponent, Brian Davidson.
Arnold and Davidson are vying for the GOP nomination for the at-large seat on the CU Board of Regents. The winner of the June 26 primary faces the Democratic incumbent, Stephen Ludwig.
Arnold's posting of personal information drew an outcry from critics who said listing the home addresses was out of bounds.
Arnold said he removed the home addresses after getting a call Tuesday night from Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. The sheriff had been contacted by Norwood Robb, a former regent who supports Davidson.Robb's home address had been posted on Arnold's site.
Asked if it was appropriate to post home addresses, Arnold said the information was available in the phone book. But he said he "condemned in the strongest terms the intimidation of supporters of candidates."
"That is never appropriate," he said today.
The turn of events is the latest in a race that traditionally attracts little attention, but now is the talk of Colorado's political junkies and several educational blogs.
Arnold, who has made two high-profile gaffs in recent days, including dismissing degrees as "academic BS," issued a letter to Republicans Tuesday saying "I goofed," but adding he is a victim of a smear campaign.
"Calling for me to quit the race is a sure sign they think I may win, but fundamentally misjudges my character — and why I'm running," he wrote.
Arnold on his website removed the names of his supporters, saying they were being harassed.
Instead under "endorsements" he posted the home and e-mail addresses and home and cell phone numbers for Robb, Davidson, Davidson's brother, Mark and political consultant Mike Ciletti .
"I call upon the Davidson campaign to cease their relentless haranguing of my supporters," Arnold wrote on his site.
"NOTE: when contacting anyone of the Davidson campaign supporters below — BE POLITE. Do NOT stoop to the level of harassment that our endorses have been subjected to by their campaign. There is NEVER any excuse for threatening or abusive language or behavior."
Davidson said he asked Arvada police Tuesday to patrol his house after learning his address had been posted.
Barbara Robb, wife of the former regent, e-mailed The Denver Post late Tuesday to say several friends had called about Arnold's website, noting their address has been posted.
"I am 75 and my husband is 76 and we are concerned for our safety. Others have expressed concern for our safety as well," she wrote . "Tonight, I pulled down all the shades and that is when I realized that I was scared."
Norwood Robb, who has served as a surrogate for Davidson at some campaign events, called the sheriff. A deputy who responded to the Robb home said she would regularly patrol the house for the next couple of days, after Robb said he feared vandalism.
Robb said today there has been no harassment.
Sheriff Robinson said that over the years his department has had to respond to what he called "campaign BS stuff," such as stolen yard signs, incidents that drain his limited resources. But he said he is obligated to respond to a call about harassment.
It's been a rough couple of weeks for Arnold.
T he Republican Party rebuked him for sending out get-out-the-vote material from one of his e-mail addresses implying he was endorsed by Arapahoe Republicans, a no-no under party bylaws.
Then he admitted he did not have a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University, as he said at times on the campaign trail. He explained he completed the course work but not his thesis.
He compounded that by saying, "I was more interested in getting on with my life than trying to, quite frankly, waste more time in pursuit of academic BS that no one cares about."
Arnold has since the lost the endorsements of at least three Republicans, including former state Senate President John Andrews, and regents Jim Geddes and Sue Sharkey.
Lynn Bartels: 303-954-5327 or email@example.com