Washington Times forgets Colorado recently had a Republican senator

Poor Wayne Allard. The recently retired Republican senator from Colorado seems to have gone down the memory hole at The Washington Times, like an out-of-favor Politburo member erased from history by Pravda.

In a bubbly, Panglossian story about the Colorado GOP’s imminent resurgence, the all-but-official organ of the Republican Party airbrushes Allard from the political landscape when it describes how very on-the-ropes state Republicans were last fall:

Colorado voters swung for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, ousted Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and kept Democrats in charge of the state’ General Assembly. Given that Colorado already had a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators, the election effectively erased the Republicans’ last hold on what was once a bright red state and moved it into the purple – or even blue – column. [emphasis added]

Given that Colorado didn’t already have “two Democratic senators” before the Obama win and Musgrave ouster, the 2008 election was even more decisive than Washington Times reporter Valerie Richardson lets on.

It’s true Allard checked out prematurely, shutting down e-mail contact with constituents months before his term ended, but even in repose, the two-term senator hadn’t somehow transformed into a Democrat.

A call to the Times’ deputy managing editor for news on Tuesday yielded an admission the description of Colorado’s pre-election delegation was mistaken, but a day later the paper’s Web site hasn’t corrected the story.

It’s not as though the Times is unaware Allard exists — a few paragraphs later, the story has Allard joining former GOP Gov. Bill Owens to meet “with the party’s emerging leaders to brainstorm, trouble-shoot and plot strategy,” in a hush-hush post-defeat summit first reported by The Denver Post.

Among the glimmers of Republican resurrection Richardson finds in Colorado:

But unlike the national Republican Party, which is fighting among itself as it tries to find a voice to counter a popular president, party leaders in Colorado have jumped into action.

That lack of infighting might be news to Scott McInnis, but let’s grant the state GOP is less at odds with itself than the national party. What’s the come-back trail the Times discerns?

In the past few months, at least two Republican-themed organizations have emerged, founded not by the usual Republican suspects, but by newcomers to the political scene.

The Times might know of “at least two” organizations but keeps their identities to itself, mentioning only the brief eruption of anti-big-government sentiment on display at a handful of Tea Parties last month.

With GOP hopefuls lining up to challenge Gov. Bill Ritter, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Markey, all incumbent Democrats considered vulnerable, recently re-elected GOP chairman Dick Wadhams finds hope amid strife:

Avoiding contentious primary battles doesn’t seem to be part of the Republican strategy, which is fine with Mr. Wadhams. “I like contested primaries. I think it makes our candidates stronger,” he said.

Long-time watchers of state GOP intrigue might get a hearty chuckle out of that one.

All in all, recasting Allard as a Democrat could be the least of the story’s stumbles.

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Ernest Luning

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