Fair and Unbalanced
UPDATE: Bob Beauprez’s rivals in the GOP gubernatorial primary race weren’t exactly welcoming, via the Denver Post.
Mike Kopp: “Bob is welcome to join the race, but we’ve seen this movie before, and it doesn’t end well.”
Greg Brophy: “To make it worse, everybody acknowledges that Bob ran a horrible campaign in ’06, and he starts the campaign … by filing his paperwork from Washington, D.C. It appears that nothing has changed. This does strike me as a vanity campaign.”
Bob Beauprez is officially in the race, and if you go to his site, you can watch a video of Beauprez telling you why he wants to be governor (although he doesn’t mention that he also considered running for senator).
And he says of his would-be opponent, John Hickenlooper, that he’s “the most extreme governor in our state’s history…”
Ace reporter Lynn Bartels notes that Gov. Clarence Morley, elected in 1924, was handpicked by the Ku Klux Klan, would later be convicted of fraud and sent to federal prison and, among other niceties, tried to fire all Catholic and Jewish professors at CU.
Hickenlooper, on the other hand, signed a bill into law that would limit the capacity of ammo magazines to 15 rounds. So, of course, you can see where Beauprez might have a point.
Speaking of extremes and guns, gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo won’t be outdone by simply calling Hickenlooper the most extreme governor in the state’s history. (And Beauprez is supposed to be the serious one?) Tancredo has his buddy Ted Nugent send out a Tancredo fundraising letter offering to give away a semi-automatic AR-15 if you send old Tom some American money.
In the letter, addressed to “Real Americans,” Nugent says that “Barack Obama and his radical America-hating leftist goons” are trying, once again, to take away your guns. And who are the leftist goons helping Obama in this ignoble cause? Who else? Michael Bloomberg, Dianne Feinstein and, of course, John Hickenlooper. Oh, and Hollywood. All of it, I guess.
Only Tancredo would think that un-extreme Coloradans would elect someone who sends out letters under his name citing the president and his “radical America-hating leftist goons.”
But he does join Greg Brophy in giving away a swell-looking gun. (Brophy says of his gun that he “tricked this baby out” with all the Magpul goodies he could find.) As I Tweeted earlier, who’s up for the Brophy winner vs. the Nugent/Tancredo winner at 20 paces?
Now, that would be extreme.
Eli Stokols has the story: Bob Beauprez will join the governor’s race on Monday.
Two key things:
One, according to Stokols, Beauprez’ announcement will not clear the GOP primary field. Tom Tancredo is not getting out. And Stokols quotes one Republican as saying the two are in a “major pissing match.” (Note: I would not pay for tickets to that one.)
Two, this is the definition of anticlimactic. Cory Gardner, who will officially announce his senatorial run tomorrow (Saturday) at 11 a.m. at Denver Lumber Co., has absorbed nearly every available bit of political oxygen. Beauprez’ announcement will not go down as a model of great timing.
Already running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination are Tancredo, Scott Gessler, Greg Brophy and Mike Kopp. Beauprez, whose last race was a humiliating 17-point loss to Bill Ritter in 2006, reportedly commissioned a poll showing him running behind Tancredo and Gessler. Tancredo’s last race was also for governor — when he lost by 15 points to John Hickenlooper in 2010.
A debate is scheduled for Sunday – to run on Fox31 at 9 a.m. — with four candidates. Gessler, who skipped the first debate and who said he wouldn’t debate unless all “legitimate” candidates were debating, will be there. That’s one campaign promise down. Tancredo, who skipped the first debate, will skip this one, too. Brophy, Kopp and businessman Steve House are scheduled to be there.
Beauprez will presumably be watching, unless he’s out getting signatures. His campaign has less then a month to gather enough petitions to get him on the primary ballot.
The news is out: Republicans have not given up in Colorado. They have gone to their bench to put Cory Gardner into the game, according to the scoop from Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee.
The shakeup doesn’t end there. The Greeley Tribune is quoting Ken Buck as saying he is dropping out of the race — and, get this, will run for Gardner’s seat in the 4th District.
When was this deal made? What back room? And there’s this: Does Buck’s move officially translate as an “imploding” campaign?
Even more to the point, can the GOP Colorado world get any stranger?
Definitely. The next move will probably be Bob Beauprez entering the governor’s race, which would shake up that race. And there’s more shaking: Amy Stephens said Wednesday night that she was dropping out of the Senate race, giving Gardner basically a clear path.
The Gardner move is a huge play for desperate Republicans. Gardner is their entire bench, and throwing him into the Senate race at this point against incumbent Mark Udall is a risk. The conventional wisdom was that Gardner was going to stay in his safe House seat and make the long climb into a House leadership position.
Gardner, who has turned down this race a few times, wouldn’t be getting in if he didn’t think that Obama’s numbers in Colorado make Udall vulnerable. Udall’s polling has been lukewarm. And there was the mini-Obamacare-exchange flap.
Despite his numbers, it’s fair to say Udall is a still a popular figure in the state. But Gardner is the Republicans’ best statewide hope. It suddenly looks like a race. But if Gardner loses, they don’t really have anyone else. (The Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board has compared Scott Gessler’s gubernatorial bid to that of Dan Maes, just to give you an idea.) No wonder Beauprez, who lost by 17 points to Bill Ritter, is considering his move.
Gardner is the huge surprise. He has been positioning himself very much on the Ted Cruz, shutdown wing of the party, which suggested that he wasn’t interested in going statewide, where being moderate, or at least moderate-looking, is usually rewarded. We don’t know how he made the decision — which the Denver Post says will be confirmed in the next few days — but national Republicans must be thrilled.
Two things were pretty evident from the Denver Post Senate debate Tuesday night: One, Buck was the heavy favorite to win the nomination. Two, he was never going to beat Udall.
Democrats have been rooting for Buck. Stephens, who doesn’t have Buck’s baggage from his 2010 Senate loss to Michael Bennet, looked like she could be a tougher opponent. Gardner changes all that.
Political guru Larry Sabato has already changed the Udall race from “likely D” to “leans D.” And we’ll see, as Gardner, who has never been tested on a statewide stage, leans in.
And now, as expected, the governor’s race gets even curiouser. Erick Erickson of RedState writes a column saying Bob Beauprez — the man who lost to Bill Ritter in 2006 by a startling 17 points — should jump into the governor’s race. And that Tom Tancredo — the man who lost to John Hickenlooper by a not-at-all-startling 15 points in 2010 — should jump out.
Meanwhile ace reporter Lynn Bartels reports that Tancredo has called Beauprez to invite him to join the race, leading to speculation that Tancredo, who never follows the script, just might this time.
It’s not clear why anyone would be pushing for Beauprez, whose defeat in 2006 was the starting point for all the Republican defeats in Colorado since. For those of us who were there, we remember that his 2006 campaign was, to put it as nicely as possible, a disaster. Let’s just say there were a few more problems than positioning himself on the wrong side of a horse.
On the other hand, there are any number of reasons why Tancredo might drop out. To begin with, there’s the matter of whether he actually wants to be governor. Although Tancredo enjoys running for the job, he has not, over two campaigns, put together anything resembling a credible platform. Instead of working on policy, or participating in debates, he spends his time writing op-eds for sketchy right-wing web sites about impeaching the president.
And then comes the hard work of actually getting on the ballot. In 2010, Tancredo skipped the hard stuff by running on the American Constitution Party ticket. Tancredo is back to being a Republican this time, meaning he has to either draw at least 30 percent of the votes at the GOP convention — and Tancredo is hardly popular with the Republican establishment – or petition his way onto the ballot.
It would be much easier for Tancredo to try for a whole new look — as the party wise man who unites the party. OK, just kidding. Wise man … smart aleck? Can you spot the difference?
If Beauprez does get in, that would be bad news for Mike Kopp, who wants to be the conservative candidate with the moderate face. If Tancredo drops out, that would probably help Greg Brophy, who would presumably get some of the Ted Nugent, all-guns-are-good-all-the-time vote. I don’t know what either would mean for Scott Gessler, who may rejoin the debate team (the next debate is Sunday on Fox 31) after being spanked by the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board. Tancredo is still not debating. His excuse — of not providing fodder for Democrats — seems more absurd by the day, but that’s Tancredo.
And Beauprez? He’s part of the team trying to bring the 2016 Republican convention to Denver — a columnist’s dream, by the way — and, if it happens, could presumably present himself as a winner, kind of. He might even make us forget his start of the 2014 campaign when he told Eli Stokols that he’s considering running for either senator or governor, a strange, strange, ambition-first thing to actually admit to — and to leave himself open for a smart-aleck columnist to re-name him Both Jobs Bob.
He seems to have narrowed his ambitions to simply the governor’s race for now, but Beauprez is hardly a sure thing. And if Tancredo doesn’t drop out, is there really room for Beauprez in an already crowded field? A better question, though, is what does it say about the state of a party that would see Beauprez as a candidate upgrade?
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