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Colorado TV spot chastises Peter Coors for promoting gay rights

Colorado TV spot chastises Peter Coors for promoting gay rights

Television ads airing in Colorado this week claim Republican Senate candidate Peter Coors is promoting gay rights, escalating the increasingly bitter primary battle between him and former U.S. representative Bob Schaffer. The Coors campaign said the commercials amount to an illegal "soft money" contribution because the group sponsoring the ads has ties to the Schaffer campaign. Schaffer's campaign denied the charge, saying any formal links were broken last month. Marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples have become an issue in the primary campaign, as Coors and Schaffer battle for support from the GOP's conservative core. As an executive of his family's brewing company, Coors backed benefits for gay workers and promoted beer in gay bars, while as a candidate he endorsed a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. Schaffer also supported the constitutional amendment. The ads, which ran in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction, were paid for by the group Colorado Conservative Voters, whose president, former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong, has endorsed Schaffer. The Coors campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and asked Comcast Cable to stop running the ads; its officials said Armstrong is a member of Schaffer's campaign, which would make the ads an illegal campaign contribution. "It is unfortunate that Bob can't raise his money legally and has to resort to these types of tactics," said Coors campaign spokeswoman Cinamon Watson. Schaffer campaign manager Pat Fiske said Armstrong formally broke off any connection with the campaign in early June. He called the Coors campaign's claims "an attack by a desperate campaign that has spent millions and can't get into second gear." However, Armstrong said the ads were legal and fair. "We have been very careful to scrupulously abide by all the rules," he said. Comcast spokeswoman Cindy Parson said the company is reviewing the Coors campaign request and hasn't decided how to respond. It could take up to 28 days for the FEC to rule on the complaint, meaning the dispute may not be resolved before the August 10 primary.

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