Russ Rahn crowned Town Fool of Breck |

Russ Rahn crowned Town Fool of Breck

by Jane Stebbins

How foolish are they?Tim Gagen$126Russ Paul Rahn$315Ernie Blake$118Kim O1Brien$ 92Corry Mihm$ 64Pete Lorenzen$183BRECKENRIDGE<In an orgy of ballot-stuffing, bribery, threats and outright begging reminiscent of the Florida presidential fiasco, Breckenridge residents elected Russ Paul Rahn as this year1s Town Fool.3I peed my pants, Rahn said as 2000 Town Fool Annie Evans crowned him with a jester1s cap. 3I1m going to Disneyland.For his efforts, Rahn received a cream pie in the face, a free facial from a gravel pit north of town, a year1s supply of dead leaves from the Breckenridge Sanitation District and free access to the Biff America Web site. The event raised almost $900 for Breckenridge Elite Athletes, as voters paid for the honor of seeing their favorite candidate named most foolish.Although many in the crowd of hundreds that filled the Blue River Plaza Monday thought Rahn would win, others held out hope for candidate and ski area employee Pete Lorenzen, believed to be the second-oldest man in town. Boasting a new purple wig, he repeatedly touted the merits of competitor Corry Mihm, executive director of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber.3My strategy is to shift all eyes to Corry, he said. 3A lot of last-minute maneuvering. I hope Roger (McCarthy) doesn1t show up.But McCarthy, chief operating officer of the Breckenridge Ski Resort, did show up, and he threatened to sign over an expense check on Lorenzen1s behalf.3This is in true recognition of his rightful position in this community, McCarthy said, slipping a bill into Lorenzen1s ballot box. Another ski area manager flipped through a pile of $100 bills and grinned at Lorenzen.3I want a recall if I win, Lorenzen said, muttering something about ballot-stuffing, hanging chads and soft money. 3This is like Florida all over again.Candidates griped about their suspicions of unfair ballot counting, campaign financing and people voting early and often. Rahn, a checker at City Market, was accused of refusing to let people leave his counter without placing at least a dollar in his ballot box.3I1m hearing stories about vote-buying, said Breckenridge town manager Tim Gagen, shaking his head. 3I can1t believe it. I can1t believe it. But I think it1ll help me.Attorney Ernie Blake, attired in a black tuxedo with tails, sporting a gray beard and wearing a sign that read, 3Honest Ern, showed both sides of his character.3You don1t even have to be subtle here, he said about the blatant disregard for election regulations. 3But if I don1t win, I1m going to sue. I1m going to sue anyway.Early voting indicated Blake was in the lead, but his $200 donation toward the Rahn campaign placed Rahn in the forefront. Blake, who is running for town council in today1s election, said the stress was incredible.3Tuesday1s nothing, he said. 3Today is everything.Before leaving to cry with Mihm, he said his donation had better garner him a spot on Rahn1s court.3It1s very sad, Mihm said, sobbing in her beer on the sidelines as Rahn and Evans danced. 3I know I1m the Town Fool in everyone1s heart. And that1s all that matters.Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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