Suthers Will Not Challenge Bob Schaffer

The potential for a Republican primary in Colorado’s 2008 U.S. Senate race is diminishing rapidly, as John Suthers’ spokesman today said Colorado’s Attorney General has “no interest in a primary with Bob Schaffer.”

“The Attorney General wants to win the seat for the Republican Party and if Bob Schaffer is the candidate for Senate, then [Suthers] is supporting Bob Schaffer,” said Nate Strauch, Suthers’ communications director.

Schaffer, a former three-term congressman, has, over the past couple of weeks, several times announced he is running and officially announced his candidacy last weekend in Boulder. The only Democrat in the race so far is Congressman Mark Udall of Eldorado Springs. The race is predicted to be one of the most expensive and closely-watched Senate races in the country.

Bentley Rayburn, whose name has also been bandied about as a possible candidate, told Colorado Confidential earlier today that he is also supporting Schaffer. Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton’s name has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

Rayburn, who came in third in last year’s six-way GOP primary to replace Joel Hefley, did not count out another run against freshman Rep. Doug Lamborn next year.

On Monday, Strauch said his boss is not considering a potential run next year for Congress in the 5th CD either – though some El Paso County GOP activists have, in recent weeks, privately suggested otherwise. Suthers is a Colorado Springs native and former District Attorney in El Paso and Teller counties, and in the mid-1990s was considered the likely heir apparent to former Rep. Joel Hefley. However, Hefley, an early supporter of term limits, did not retire until last year, after two decades in Congress.

“I hadn’t even heard about that one,” said Strauch, of a possible Suthers bid for Congress. “The Attorney General is very focused on being the Attorney General for Colorado.”

Click here to read the report on Bentley Rayburn’s decision not to run for U.S. Senate, and the possibility that he may challenge Lamborn.

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at cdegette@coloradoconfidential.com

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