Political Gamesmanship in Governor’s Race

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez announced today that Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland will be his running mate and lieutenant governor nominee. Rowland was somewhat of a surprise choice, and Beauprez is touring the state today to introduce her at various stops.

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter officially nominated Barbara O’Brien to be his running mate today. But O’Brien’s selection was made public in January, so why wait eight months to make it “official?”The answer is that this is all about political gamesmanship. The Ritter campaign put off making the nomination official until the day that Beauprez was making his announcement in order to steal a little bit of the press from their Republican opponent.

Instead of tomorrow’s newspaper stories reporting solely on Beauprez’s nominee, now each story will likely include a paragraph or two about Ritter making O’Brien “official.” It may seem like a small thing, but political races often come down to little more than name recognition; any time you can keep your opponent from having the news to himself on what should be a big news day for the campaign, you’ve won a small victory.