Beauprez makes it official on 2010 GOP Senate bid: ‘It won’t be me’

Putting to rest a recent round of speculation, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez told radio listeners Monday evening he will not seek the Republican nomination for next year’s U.S. Senate election in Colorado. Citing a reluctance to emerge from a comfortable retirement, Beauprez said he and his wife “kinda realized we liked what we’re doing,” so he wouldn’t be joining the crowded field seeking to take on appointed Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

“What really was the deciding factor for us was knowing we would have to forsake, set aside, all of our family interests, everything we’ve got going on,” Beauprez said in the closing minutes of the KHOW 630 AM radio show he guest-hosted Monday afternoon. “At least this cycle, it won’t be me.”

Beauprez also sent an e-mail to supporters before the radio show and posted the news on his web site Monday afternoon.

Saying he planned to “keep my powder dry, at least for a little bit,” the former state GOP chairman declined to endorse any of the hopefuls seeking the nomination. “Not right now,” he said when co-host Craig Silverman asked whether Beauprez favored a contender. “I am virtually certain the field is not set,” he said, perhaps hinting at the rumored decision of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton to jump into the race.

Beauprez floated his name as a possible candidate early this year and then mostly disappeared from view until recently when lackluster fundraising totals from Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck and Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier had some Republicans wondering if those two were up to the task.

Bennet, seen as vulnerable by some political observers, tallied more than $2.6 million in the first two quarters of the year, far outpacing potential challengers. Buck raised $330,000 and Frazier reported $140,000 in the three months ending June 30. Both waited until the second quarter to launch their campaigns.

None of the other potential candidates — businessman Cleve Tidwell, Crested Butte attorney Luke Korkowski or former state Sen. Tom Wiens of Castle Rock — raised money in the most recently reported quarter. The next quarter ends Sept. 30 and fundraising reports are due to the FEC on Oct. 15.

Beauprez suggested the eventual Republican nominee could have to raise $10 million, “or perhaps $12, $15 million if it gets competitive.”

Right before making his announcement on the radio, Beauprez posted a lengthy explanation for his decision not to run on his web site. After recounting a life of public service — including two successful runs for Congress early in the decade and a loss to Democrat Bill Ritter in the governor’s race in 2006 — Beauprez lays it out:

I’ve stayed involved, keeping my eyes open for other ways to make a difference. Not every opportunity is the right one though, and having been presented with the potential to serve in the United States Senate, Claudia and I considered it very carefully. However after significant reflection, I will not be a candidate for the Senate in 2010.