Sources say Penry behind Western Skies’ bid for Colorado GOP Senate majority

The Western Skies Coalition, a conservative Virginia corporation with an office in Littleton, is allegedly being used by state Sen. Josh Penry (R-Fruita) to raise funds from oil and gas companies in a bid target several key Colorado state Senate races and win back a Republican majority in 2010, according to several sources.

“Josh Penry has been raising money from oil and gas companies for this effort and the spending is focused on electing Republican candidates in the Senate,” said Colorado Conservation Voters Executive Director Carrie Doyle. “So the assumption is the goal is to claim a Republican majority in the state Senate. The irony is that this is oil and gas money being used to talk about how these candidates stand for clean energy when their voting records are anything but.”

Penry didn’t return several phone calls and e-mails requesting comment.

Western Skies has been running television ads supporting incumbent Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield), who’s running against Democrat Joe Whitcomb in Senate District 23, and ads have also been running touting the alternative-energy agenda of Republican businesswoman Libby Szabo, who’s running against Democrat Evie Hudak in Senate District 19.

Sources say two other races being targeted by Western Skies include Senate District 8, where Republican Al White is running against Democrat Ken Brenner, and Senate 26, where Republican Lauri Clapp is running against Democrat Linda Newell, who last week was facetiously endorsed by comedian Jon Stewart during a taping of the Daily Show during the DNC.

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