Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn is, according to a headline in the Denver Post last week, jumping into the race to take on Rep. Doug Lamborn and Jeff Crank – who announced in early August his own definite plans for another go against the freshman congressman.
For such a normally enthusiastic guy, Rayburn’s comments were just a bit muted. “It’s probably a pretty for-sure thing,” the Post quoted Rayburn saying. “You’ll probably be hearing some official indications of our candidacy here pretty soon.”
Rayburn, who is ordinarily exceedingly accessible, could not be reached for further clarification by this reporter; a Sunday news story about Lamborn and his vulnerabilities published in the Colorado Springs Gazette referred to Rayburn vaguely as “a former and likely future primary opponent.”
But whether Rayburn is really in or out, one question begs to be answered. Whether it’s just Crank taking on Lamborn, or both Crank and Rayburn, how would either of these two Republicans differ from Lamborn? Indeed, when it comes to matters of substance, would either of the two differ from Lamborn?Lamborn, a former state senator, narrowly beat out five other men in a bitter primary last year, including Crank and Rayburn. In the minority in Washington, Lamborn has, among other things, proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and whacking funding for public broadcasting. He unwaveringly continues to support George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. He opposes taxes of all stripes, takes a strident opposition to pork-barrel spending and has racked up a near 100 percent voting record siding with the Republican Party.
When Crank first announced his intent to take on Lamborn, he was asked to identify any votes that he would have cast differently – on any issue that has come up in Lamborn’s first eight months. This is what Crank said:
“There will be plenty of time to talk about differences on issues, our styles and who is the best person to represent the 5th CD – that will be the debate over the next year.
Right now I’d prefer to talk about the good things – water, military issues. I’d prefer to talk about why I am the right person for this job … the American public is absolutely sick of hearing how bad the other guy is.”
When pressed, Crank indicated that there are “probably several votes” that have come up of which he would likely have cast differently – though he declined to identify any of them. “I don’t want to start off the campaign with the perception that I’m being critical of him on some issues. This is going to be a comparison of two men – I’m not going to tell you why he’s terrible to represent you, I’m going to tell you why I’d do better.”
In other words, the answer is in style. Crank says his approach will be about “issues,” about “presence and character” and “leading the Republican Party to majority status.”
During his time in Washington, Lamborn’s approach has been, by most reports, unpretentious, sometimes appearing downright na