GOP Sweating Out Effect of Colo. Gov Race

Tuesday, 07 Sep 2010 08:08 AM

By valerie Richardson

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
DENVER - The disaster that is the Colorado Republican gubernatorial campaign could end up dragging down the rest of the party's ticket. Or it could benefit other GOP candidates by freeing up resources and creating a sense of urgency among activists.

Those are the bad-news-good-news scenarios being floated as Colorado politicos survey the wreckage of the Colorado Republican Party's efforts to nominate a viable candidate in the once eminently winnable governor's race.

Dan Maes, the unlikely winner of last month's Republican primary, refused to pull his name off the November ballot by Friday's deadline. That ended the party's last-ditch hopes of replacing him with a write-in candidate such as former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton.

"He is the Republican nominee. He's the Republican candidate," said state party chairman Dick Wadhams, sounding more resigned than enthusiastic. "But other races will not be affected by what's going on in the governor's race, which is very chaotic."

That might be an understatement. Republicans must contend not only with the embattled Mr. Maes, but also with the candidacy of former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who entered the race last month as an alternative to Mr. Maes. The three-way contest all but guarantees a victory for the Democratic pick, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

All this has Democrats privately gleeful about the embattled Mr. Maes not only losing the gubernatorial race, but potentially tainting the rest of the party's slate. Even if other candidates are able to distance themselves from him, the Maes nomination means less fundraising and independent advertising for the governor's race, which traditionally benefits candidates down the party's food chain.

For example, the Republican Governors Association, which was ready to sink as much as $9 million in the race before the Aug. 10 primary, has decided to spend its campaign cash elsewhere, according to Republicans.

In a highly unusual move, a rash of top Republicans - including former Sen. Hank Brown and Senate nominee Ken Buck - withdrew their endorsements of Mr. Maes late last week after the Denver Post reported that he had embellished his record as a law-enforcement officer in Kansas.

Mr. Maes continued to frame efforts to push him out of the race as a battle between regular folks and the party establishment.

"After speaking with, and hearing from, numerous Coloradans - from former Senators to family farmers - I've determined that I cannot turn my back on the 200,000 voters who nominated me to run for this office," Mr. Maes said Friday in a Facebook post.

But Colorado Republicans have one big plus in their column, and it may be enough: 2010 is a Republican year. Politicos say Republican voters and their cousins in the "tea party" and 9/12 movement are so electrified that even a discredited gubernatorial nominee won't derail other Republican candidates in November.

"It's a really unfortunate situation with Dan Maes, but I don't think it'll suppress voter turnout," Buck campaign manager John Swartout said. "The energy is too high. I've never seen a Republican base with such energy on the ground."

Another point in the GOP's favor: Federal races top the Colorado ballot, followed by state contests, which means that the first Republican name voters will see will be that of Mr. Buck, the current front-runner in his bid to oust Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet.

Republicans also are mounting strong challenges to three Democratic House incumbents, Rep. John Salazar in the 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Betsy Markey in the 4th, and Rep. Ed Perlmutter in the 7th.

Indeed, Mrs. Markey, who unseated Republican incumbent Marilyn Musgrave in the 2008 Democratic sweep, is considered so vulnerable that national Democrats are weighing whether to redirect her funding to more winnable races, according to an article Sunday in the New York Times.

Colorado Republicans also like their chances of picking up seats in the state legislature, even winning back one or both of the Democrat-controlled chambers. The Republicans consider six state Senate seats winnable but need just four to regain control, according to former Senate Majority Leader John Andrews.

"Everything I'm picking up encourages me that the weak nominee we have for governor will not detract from our hopes of winning back the legislature and winning the Senate seat and congressional races," Mr. Andrews said. "I think there will be a slingshot effect where resources that would have gone to electing a Republican governor will be used in other races. It won't go to waste."

In more bad news for Mr. Maes, his "tea-party" support also has eroded. Last week, following the reports about his law enforcement career, a number of prominent leaders joined Republicans in withdrawing their endorsements, including Lesley Hollywood, director of the influential Northern Colorado Tea Party.

"Alright Dan Maes - it's time for you to go. Get out now, while the gettin' is still good," she said Thursday in a Facebook post.

Mr. Wadhams estimated that the candidate probably has lost about half his support among Tea Party and 9/12 leaders. "I can't quantify that, but that's my impression," he said.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Ed Schultz: Work Permits for Illegals Would Be 'Death' for Dems

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 23:05 PM

Liberal MSNBC host Ed Schultz warns that it will be "an electoral death knell for the Democrats" if President Barack Oba . . .

Low Voter Turnout in Primaries Has Dems Especially Worried

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 20:37 PM

Sharp declines in voter turnout for primaries in 25 states have both parties worried, but the situation is dire for Demo . . .

Quinnipiac Poll: Kasich Maintains Double-Digit Lead in Ohio

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 16:10 PM

With less than 100 days to go until the Nov. 4 election, Ohio looks like a shoo-in to remain in the Republican column wh . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved