Rep. Penry (R-Mesa) criticizes governor for bending to Democrats

According to the Grand Junction Sentinel, Rep. Josh Penry of Mesa County is none too happy with Gov. Owens.  Penry accuses Owens of abandoning the Republican Party during the recent special session by failing to take a hard line with the Democratic leadership.

Penry also thought that the governor’s claim to Colorado’s tough anti-illegal immigration laws was misguided rhetoric, the Sentinel reported.

In a tight race against Matt Smith in the Republican primary for State Senate 7th seat being vacated by term-limited Ron Teck, Penry’s posturing against the governor may be a gamble.

Already some Mesa County Republicans are grumbling that Penry should have stayed in his representative seat. His myriad of signs all over Grand Junction well before the primary election prompted Grand Junction City Hall to enact new political sign codes.

Penry’s positioning to the “right” of Bill Owens follows in line with former Republican 3rd CD candidate, Greg Walcher. Conservative Walcher beat Smith and other moderate Republican primary contenders only to lose to John Salazar. Some West Slope political pundits felt that if the Republicans had chosen a moderate Republican candidate, he would have beaten Salazar.

Thus, Penry’s attack on Gov. Owens may have offered a window of opportunity for his primary opponent, Matt Smith, who is also former Congressman Scott McInnis’s brother-in-law. The winner of that race will face Democratic challenger, Dana Barker.