"Stripes" is one of two ads being run by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) against the Denver mayor. It shows Hickenlooper and Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) in striped suits and says their high-tax policies have led to thousands of jobs being lost in the city and state.
"Zebras are being unfairly maligned and this notion of these attack ads starting six months (before the election), I don't think anybody likes it," said Hickenlooper who showed up at 9NEWS in a suit coat covered in duct tape stripes. "It's certainly unfair to zebras. Zebras are among the most friendly social creatures in the animal kingdom."
He also said, "It's a worldwide recession. The (commercial) is a distortion. It's not even close to a factual basis."
A second commercial being run by the RGA said the mayor was responsible for Frontier Airlines moving some jobs to Indianapolis and Milwaukee. The CEO of Republic Airways, which owns Frontier, issued a public statement over the weekend refuting the ad.
"We are disappointed to be drawn into a political attack ad," said Bryan Bedford, chairman, president and CEO of Republic Airways Holding, Inc. in a statement e-mailed to 9NEWS. "Frontier is not affiliated with any political organizations. We are in business to serve the people of Colorado, which we've been doing proudly since 1994. Our decision to relocate certain maintenance jobs from Denver was a difficult one, but it was based on many factors. Taxes were not the compelling factor in our decision to relocate jobs to other cities and we want to set the record straight."
A spokesman from the RGA sent out his own statement shortly afterwards defending the accuracy of the commercial. "(Frontier's) new explanations do not square with statements made at the time the airline was moving jobs from Denver to other states," wrote Tim Murtaugh from the RGA. "At the time the airline was moving jobs away from Denver, airline representatives made repeated references to Denver's tax policies as a key reason for the departure."
Ritter chose not to run for re-election. Hickenlooper is the only Democrat running to replace him. Scott McInnis, Dan Maes, Joe Gschwendtner and Yoon Mager are vying for the Republican nomination. The primary is set for August 10.
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