SUMMIT COUNTY " A Republican candidate for the state House has taken a vow of celibacy that precludes dating, following a jestful suggestion from Summit County party officials.
"I wanted to disagree," Ali Hasan, 28, told the Summit Daily News. "They said they would take away their endorsement. So I guess that kind of makes me a bit of a monk."
Hasan is running for state House District 56. He said Wednesday that he made the decision at the party's state convention in May, and he's sticking to it " until January.
Local GOP leader Debra Irvine said no demands were made of Hasan regarding his love life, but she takes credit for the joke.
District 56 incumbent Christine Scanlan, a Democrat, was surprised to hear about Hasan's plans.
"Oh my goodness," she said. "That probably falls in the 'too much information' category. Yeek."
Hasan said his decision helps ensure his party that he isn't going to be out partying.
A committed campaigner, he says he's knocked on more than 10,000 doors and intends to reach 17,000 by the end of August.
He takes everything seriously, he said, so when he's in a relationship, he spends "a lot of time" with the woman.
"If I were to have a relationship in the next couple months, it could derail my chances," Hasan said.
He misses the companionship, he said, but it's given him opportunity to get closer to his family.
"I've never been closer to my family, my two sisters. In substitute of companionship, that's good," Hasan said.
His parents have also moved up to Eagle, supporting him and his campaign, he said.
Hasan said the decision to remain celibate is not in response to allegations that he was stalking a former girlfriend and publicist.
The woman, Alison Miller, claimed Hasan harassed her after their relationship ended, but she dropped her pursuit of a permanenet restraining order against him, and no criminal charges have been filed.
Regarding his plans to maintain celibacy through January, Hasan said other Summit County party leaders felt it would be good to give him time for "writing and researching policies."
"When I told the folks in Eagle County that Summit wasn't allowing (dating), the reaction (was): 'Why didn't we think of that?'" he said.
State Republican chairman Dick Wadhams said Wednesday that he wasn't aware of Hasan's decision not to date, nor has he ever heard of such agreements from state candidates.
He also said the race could be surprising, as Hasan's running an aggressive campaign.
"He has a good shot at winning his seat. The Democrats have already decided they cannot lose," Wadhams said.
Scanlan said nothing is ever assumed in a political race.
"I'm working very hard for this campaign, and I hope my work in the legislative session speaks well of me," she said. "I'm certainly not taking anything for granted with this race."
Hasan said he's known all along the race will be a "tough challenge." His decision will keep him from distraction, but it's no easy commitment.
"The women in House District 56 are beautiful and wonderful, and very articulate and gorgeous," he said. "So not dating here really is kind of a drag."
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or email@example.com.