Unity in CD5 a Relative Thing

So the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News and the Colorado Springs Gazette all opted against reporting GOP state party chairman Bob Martinez’ awkward directive to “put our shoulders to the metal and get with it!” during yesterday’s gathering to display “unity” in Colorado Springs.

Thursday’s Rocky report instead included this more lucid Martinez statement, “We’ve had our battles, but today’s the day we come together as a party.” But all three dailies today at least touched on the fact that, at least in the 5th Congressional District, a Republican lovefest may be a bit premature. Losing candidates Jeff Crank and Lionel Rivera, in particular, were stung by what they termed as “outrageous” and “disgusting” attacks by Doug Lamborn supporters. Though five of the six GOP candidates bidding to replace 20-year Congressman Joel Hefley campaigned hard to the right, Lamborn, a state senator of 12 years, is considered the most radically conservative of the bunch. During his campaign, for example, he supported the idea of eliminating the Internal Revenue Service and the minimum wage.

On election night, Colorado Springs City Councilman Jerry Heimlicher, a Rivera supporter, predicted dark days ahead for Republicans in the event of a Lamborn win. And sure enough, on Thursday, the Gazette reported that another Rivera supporter and colleague, Springs councilman Scott Hente, is just one Republican who has already defected and is supporting Democrat Jay Fawcett.

Endorsements for Lamborn came somewhat reluctantly or incompletely, while Democrat Jay Fawcett’s campaign asserted that 20 to 30 Republicans had called to offer their support…
Asked [after the unity rally] if they had endorsed Lamborn, his former opponents gave a range of answers. [Bentley Rayburn campaign manager John] Gaughan said yes and [Duncan] Bremer called Lamborn a “brother in Christ.” Rivera said he hopes Lamborn wins and Crank criticized some of Fawcett’s positions while promising to “support the candidate who’s closest to (Republican) principles.”

The Denver Post, meanwhile, noted that despite Fawcett facing an uphill battle, in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 2-to-1, he is “pretty fired up.”

Fawcett, a 1977 Air Force Academy graduate, said Wednesday “We’re pretty fired up. … I don’t think this is a race to be taken lightly. We’ve got a strong support network and I’ll tell you what, I have an incredible staff – best in the universe and surrounding counties.”