Penry passes over U.S. Senate grassroots candidate Buck, endorses Norton as ‘reformer’

Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry was a popular candidate for governor among the grassroots right. He got pushed out of the race mid-November, however, by frontrunner Scott McInnis, a six-term Congressman, the establishment candidate and apparent top choice of the state GOP. “Somebody’s got to be the adult and step back,” said Penry. It appears he will keep stepping back.


Penry announced yesterday that he was endorsing Washington insider and national party favorite Jane Norton in her bid to replace U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. This coming the same weekend Colorado right-wing blogger and Fox News regular Michelle Malkin rallied the state’s Tea Party troops specifically by decrying Norton’s candidacy.

[Norton is] a milquetoast public official who has served on a lot of task forces and GOP clubs – and who happens to be the sister-in-law of big Beltway insider Charlie Black. An estimated 40 percent of her coffers are filled with out-of-state money (and much of that is flowing from the Beltway).

The mini-McCain of Colorado claims to oppose “special interests,” but has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from D.C. lobbyists at McCain’s behest – stifling the candidacy of strong conservative rivals led by grass-roots-supported Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, an amnesty opponent whose aggressive illegal immigration prosecutions have earned him the rage of the far Left and big business Right. A recent Rasmussen poll showed Buck and another GOP candidate Tom Wiens beating Bennet – despite the huge cash and crony advantage of front-runner and blank-slate Jane.

Penry doesn’t see it that way.

Looking back over the course of the last decade, both Democrats and Republicans in Washington lost their fiscal compass. But thankfully, we have an opportunity in 2010 to make a clean break from the past… We need to elect principled leaders who will go back to Washington and be bold champions for reform and fiscal restraint. I believe – I know – Jane Norton is that person.

He believes– no, he knows!

Norton was a member of Gov. Bill Owens’ administration and lieutenant governor for three years. She was also a state lobbyist for the health care industry. Her brother in law is a top K-street string-puller. He worked for tobacco, oil, and drug companies for decades, moving back and forth between leadership positions at lobbying firms and Republican political campaigns and organizations. He left the firm BKSH & Associates to work as senior adviser for the McCain campaign in 2008. Norton’s sister Judy Black is also a D.C. lobbyist whose clients include companies in the finance, health care and oil and gas industries. Judy was national co-chair of the fundraising group “Women for McCain.”

When Norton announced she was running in September, former GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and others lambasted her as McCain’s pick, repeating the fact– and forcing Norton to admit it to the media– that she had consulted by phone with McCain before deciding to run.

“Does John McCain have a right to do that? Sure. Do I have a right to bitch about it? You bet.”

Penry’s not bitching about it. He’s being an adult. He believes knows Norton is a bold champion of reform!

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic | 720-432-2128 |

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