Hasan won't seek Vail-area state house seat in 2012; plans to focus on film, new ventures

Republican turned Democrat launches Constitutionalists For Gays & Immigrants

By David O. Williams
Real AspenDecember 14, 2010
Muhammad Ali Hasan, a Beaver Creek filmmaker and former Republican candidate for state treasurer and state House District 56, says he has no plans to run again in that district in 2012 after the resignation of Democrat Christine Scanlan.

Scanlan, a Dillon resident, last month won the HD56 seat she was first appointed to in 2007, but resigned to serve as Governor-elect John Hickenlooper's director of legislative affairs and strategic initiatives. On Sunday a 15-member vacancy committee appointed Summit School District superintendent Millie Hamner to fill the seat.

Hasan, who beat Scanlan in his home Eagle County in 2008 but lost to her in Summit and Lake County and ultimately overall, recently told The Colorado Independent (TCI) he is leaving the Republican Party because of the bigotry he believes has shaped GOP politics over the last year.

Asked if he'll try again in HD56, this time as a Democrat, Hasan said he has other plans.

“I will definitely not be running for House District 56,” Hasan said in an email to Real Vail. “My film career is going well, and I plan to register to vote, in the coming months, either in California or New Mexico. I really don't know what my political future holds. All I know is that I'll be helping the Democrats in New Mexico and California, as well as promoting my new group, Constitutionalists For Gays & Immigrants.”

Hasan said Republicans don't have much of a shot in the formerly conservative Eagle County area, where he said he would have a much better chance as a Democrat.

“I was proud to carry the Republican flag in 2008 and I would never change a thing about the past,” Hasan wrote. “That said, HD56 is a very blue district. Yes, it is fiscal conservative, but Republicans, like with many districts, have alienated the voters of HD56 with their social issues. Personally, I don't know of many Republicans who could win HD56.”
Ali Hasan

Scanlan was a potential speaker of the House candidate until the Republicans took back the state House last month. She was picked to replace former state Rep. Dan Gibbs in 2007 when he was named to the state Senate District 16 seat vacated by former state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, who quit to unsuccessfully run against U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. Democrat Jeanne Nicholson narrowly beat back arch-conservative Tea Party favorite Tim Leonard in SD16 last month.

“I learned everything from Dan and we'll pass it on to Millie,” Scanlan told the Summit Daily News. Hasan clearly holds no lingering ill will after his hard-fought 2008 battle with Scanlan. He says there's no chance she knew she'd be offered a cabinet post with Hickenlooper and ran for re-election anyway.

“First off, Hickenlooper's victory was not a guarantee, as many polls showed [American Constitution Party candidate Tom] Tancredo rising. Second, I am convinced that Scanlan was offered the job after Hickenlooper starting putting his transition team together,” Hasan said.

“Christine Scanlan is an honorable person and I would never imagine her accepting a job while knowingly running for office. That's not like her, and any characterization of that would be unfair, in my opinion.”

In other State Legislature news, the Denver Post today reported primary care Dr. Irene Aguilar was appointed by a vacancy committee Monday night to fill the seat of outgoing state Sen. Chris Romer, a Denver Democrat and the son of former Gov. Roy Romer. Chris Romer, who is running for the Denver mayoral seat being vacated by Hickenlooper, recently did a sit-down interview with TCI.

Aguilar, according to the Post, beat out state Rep. Beth McCann by a 2-to-1 margin in the final vote.

Also Monday, Hickenlooper named Ken Lund as his Chief Legal Counsel. In a release from Hickenlooper's office, Lund is described as “the firm-wide Managing Partner of Holme Roberts & Owen in Denver … responsible for the articulation, development and implementation of the law firm's client service and engagement strategy.”

“While leaving a great organization like HRO is bittersweet, the opportunity to work with John Hickenlooper and the team he is building is very compelling,” Lund said in the release.

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