The day after Congressman Joel Hefley suckerpunched the Republican candidate who wants to replace him, former CD5 candidate Jeff Crank issued a statement underscoring the “importance of Republican unity.”
But Crank, who was Hefley’s choice in a bitter primary that was won by state Sen. Doug Lamborn, went on to underscore in his statement the man who he is uniting behind – and it isn’t Lamborn.
“I am steadfast in my support for Congressman Bob Beauprez as he leads our Republican team to victory. I attended the unity rally for Republicans the morning after the primary and nothing has changed. I continue to believe that it is important to keep our eyes on our shared goal of retaining the Governorship, retaking the state legislature and retaining Republican control of Congress. I look forward to working with our Republican party in El Paso County and the State of Colorado to advance our shared goals.”
Crank could not immediately be reached for comment; his former campaign manager Jim Banks says the former candidate has been doing a lot of fishing and is gearing up for hunting season. And, Crank has volunteered to be the county chairman for the Bob Beauprez for governor campaign. Crank has not endorsed Lamborn, the Republican’s nominee, and he hasn’t been asked to, Banks said.
Yesterday, Hefley, whom Crank once worked for as a legislative aide, publicly announced he would not support Lamborn, criticizing the candidate’s tactics during the primary race as “sleazy” and “dishonest.”
Neither Lamborn or his campaign manager, Jon Hotaling have responded to messages seeking comment. However the bloody primary has left many Republicans in this conservative stronghold of El Paso County with lingering bitterness – with some vowing privately, and publicly, to vote for the Democrat, Jay Fawcett, or not at all in the 5th Congressional District race. Two other Republicans, Rich Hand and Greg Hollister, will likely campaign as write-in candidates.
Banks says that he does not plan to vote for Fawcett, though he would not say who he plans to vote for in the congressional race. “Mr. Fawcett’s politics are not the same as my own, and I will vote for the person whose values are as close as my own.”
“We do have unity problems in our party here, and that hurts all candidates,” Banks says. “There are a lot of good candidates in this community, and we’re going to go out and do as much as we can to get Beauprez elected governor.”