Is the United Nations trying to corrupt Colorado outdoorsmen and women? Ask Tony Sanchez.
A newly surfaced video of Colorado Republican Tony Sanchez, who's running for a state Senate seat, shows the conservative warning a partisan audience that government-sponsored bike paths represent "an attack on you."
"When you hear the word 'sanctuary city,' 'sustainability' or even the word 'bike path,' that's an attack on your private property rights — it's an attack on you," Sanchez warned Republicans at a March convention, according to the Colorado Times Recorder.
Sanchez seems to be tapping into a strange but persistent conspiracy theory claiming that government-supported bike paths are actually part of a United Nations-backed plan for world domination.
Embraced by tea party-type conservatives who oppose sustainable land use initiative, the theory posits "Sustainable development is just a really nice way of saying centralized control over all human life on earth," at least according to Glenn Beck.
Back in 2010, the GOP's then-gubernatorial candidate for Colorado, Dan Maes, warned that Denver’s pro-bike policies were turning the city into a United Nations community.
"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms…These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor," said Maes. "These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."
But attacking bike riding in Colorado is kind of like attacking basketball in Indiana or horse racing in Kentucky — it completely goes against the local culture.
As the state's own website stresses, "Colorado is home to some of the world's most scenic high-altitude drives and byways, which means it also lures road bikers to its hundreds of miles of scenic roadways."
Key to that thriving bike culture is nearly 40,000 miles of byways and bike paths.
Sanchez's strange rhetoric is playing out against the backdrop of the hotly contested race for control of the Colorado Senate this year. Republicans took over the upper chamber in 2014, gaining a one-seat margin, and then held that same slim ground in 2016.
In 2018, with a Trump backlash growing nationally and Colorado voters statewide moving more to the left, Democrats have their sights on flipping the Senate, as well as hanging onto the House and maintaining the governorship.
A total of 17 out of the 35 seats in the Colorado Senate are contested in this election cycle.
Observers suggest five state senate toss-up races, featuring five Democratic candidates, will determine the outcome in November. And Sanchez, who enjoys a sky-high rating from the NRA, is featured in one of those key contests.
Sanchez is running in Colorado State Senate District 22, just like he did in 2014 when he lost.
This time Sanchez is running against Democrat Brittany Pettersen, who takes a much different view of Colorado's outdoor economy.
Last week, Pettersen joined other members of the Colorado General Assembly in urging the state's congressional delegation to make sure federal funding is secured for the Land Water Conservation Fund.
"An investment in LWCF is an investment into Colorado’s booming outdoor recreation economy, which supports nearly 230,000 direct jobs and maintains the quality of life that makes Colorado such a special place to live, work and play," the members stressed.
And yes, that includes bike paths.