GOP Group Shuns “Invisible” Kopp in Senate 22

The Colorado Club for Growth and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners have embraced him, as has former Senate President John Andrews. But other longtime Jefferson County Republican activists have shunned Mike Kopp during what they complain is a shadowy campaign for the state senate.

“We’ve never heard a word from him,” said Jim MacNair, who with his wife Linda are GOP precinct committee people who publish Grass Roots, a newsletter published since 2000 and distributed to about 350 homes throughout the Governor’s Ranch subdivision at the far edge of southwest Denver.

“He doesn’t answer our phone calls, he doesn’t attend meetings – we’ve just been kept in the dark.”MacNair’s group recently did what was unheard of in the past; it refused for the first time to endorse the official Republican candidate in the general election.

Kopp is a newcomer to the district who is running against Democrat Paula Noonan in Jefferson County’s Senate District 22. This week Kiki Traylor, who Kopp beat by less than 100 votes in the primary, also announced she would not support him. Traylor was appointed in January to fill out the seat vacated by longtime state Sen. Norma Anderson. The Rocky Mountain News has quoted Traylor saying Kopp’s supporters had “lied” about her record.

MacNair says Grass Roots supported Traylor in the primary. But as with most other partisan organization, they fully expected they would throw their support behind the party’s official choice for the general election. The club has issued a straight party line list of endorsements for all other seats that are open in the district, including Republicans Tom Tancredo for Congress, of whom McNair said “we’re staunch supporters,” along with Bob Beauprez, Mike Coffman, John Suthers, Ken Summers for state representative and seven open Jefferson County seats.

But in Kopp’s case, they decided they couldn’t endorse an invisible candidate who wouldn’t return their calls or show up to events – including their candidates’ forum several weeks ago that Tancredo and other candidates attended. Kopp also skipped a candidates’ event sponsored by the League of Women Voters. In addition, he didn’t appear at the caucus nor returned phone calls. MacNair said they decided they’d had enough.

“It’s a little bit like the guy who wants the job, but won’t do the interview,” he said. “We’re very disappointed. We’ve tried real hard to support our candidates and frankly, it costs me a lot of money. We published a newsletter, which comes out of pocket, we rented Governor’s Hall [for the forum], and then to have someone not show up, it’s unfortunate.

“All we know about him is what we read in his literature he sends. He just kind of came out of nowhere.”

Kopp also did not return calls seeking comment from Colorado Confidential. His literature shows he has received endorsements from the anti-tax, pro-school voucher Colorado Club for Growth, as well as the Christian Coalition of Colorado. Former Senate President John Andrews and former state Rep. Rob Fairbanks have contributed to his campaign, as has former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong, who is often considered to be the godfather of conservative Republican politics in Colorado.

Records show Kopp has a Bachelor of Arts degree in ministry from North Central University in Minneapolis. North Central advertises itself as “a Christ-centered Pentecostal school with a commitment to academic excellence that prepares students to fulfill biblical models of leadership and ministry throughout the world.”

His web site claims that his registered business, ForwardThink Strategies, specializes in non-profit, charter school, and ministry development.

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Cara Degette

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