March 27, 2008

Well-funded Muslim GOP Candidate With Ties To Bush Finds Himself In Hot Water

This story has it all--an aspiring Muslim Republican star in the state of Colorado, family connections to President George W. Bush, temporary restraining orders for hacking his girlfriend's computer, and Kobe Bryant's law firm . . .


Ali Hasan, 27, is popular with old-school Republicans partly because he has two key resources not easy to find in state legislative candidates: time and money. (Preston Utley, Vail Daily News)

Back in January, Westword featured the bright, well-heeled rising GOP star Muhammad Ali Hasan:
"I'm not old and white," Ali replied. "I have brown skin and I have a strong Muslim background. I'm not from the Front Range. These guys say, 'We see these things as advantages and not disadvantages.' The fact that you came here shows me that you are not afraid to promote me. It says that you accept these things about me. I'll do my best to win 56. People will say, 'This is the party of open-minded, inclusive people.'"

The audience clapped wildly, and an older woman in the foyer wagged her finger in excitement. "Yeah! Yeah!"

As the crowd broke up, Ali stayed behind to shake hands with the legislators, two of whom would follow him to Avon that evening for another town hall meeting. It had been a "notch" morning in his words, a day that he gained legitimacy with the Republicans — and didn't compromise himself while doing it.

"I want to change the Republican Party," he said later. "And it's easier to do that when the Republican Party is supporting you."
And his parents--the source of Ali Hasan's wealth?
Hasan lives in a $10 million Beaver Creek mansion with his parents, who made a fortune in the health-maintenance-organization business and have been willing to part with significant sums for the Republican Party.

Ali's father, Malik, is a Bush Pioneer, one of the party's elite national fundraisers. Ali and his mother, Seeme, created Muslims for Bush, and the family home is dotted with pictures of the Hasans with the current occupant of the White House.
Now for the soap opera-like drama:
The race for House District 56 should have been a bright spot in state Republicans' effort to retake the legislature: They had found a candidate, Muhammad Ali Hasan, who is young and articulate and had both the time and money to wrest the seat from Democrats.

But then Hasan's campaign publicist and former girlfriend filed for a temporary restraining order against him, alleging that he tried to hack into her computer and tracked her whereabouts after their personal relationship soured.

Hasan, the scion of one of the state's biggest Republican fundraisers, countered by hiring the same high-priced law firm that defended basketball star Kobe Bryant in a sex-assault case.

The publicist, Alison Miller, dropped her effort for a permanent order but said it was under heavy pressure from prominent Republicans who cared more about the party's image than possible inappropriate behavior by its well-heeled candidate.

And the issue may still end up in criminal court.

The whole thing has made for tit-for-tat coverage in the local media, turning 2008 into one of the most bizarre local campaign seasons many people in Eagle County can remember — and it's only March.
This should be a really interesting election cycle.

You just can't make this stuff up--I'll be keeping an eye on this story.

At least this GOP candidate has some conservative credentials, unlike Rima Barakat Sinclair, an anti-Israeli, pro-choice stealth candidate put on the ballot by the GOP in Denver.

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