LOVELAND– If GOP U.S. Senate candidates Robert Greenheck, Steve Barton, and Cleve Tidwell are having any effect at all, it is to make Weld County D.A. Ken Buck look like a major candidate, and maybe he is. Candidate Jane Norton didn’t even show up and was not nominated by the delegates here, leaving Buck as the overwhelming crowd favorite. Of course, had Norton thought she could have won, she would have been here today.
The first three candidates nominated were mostly ignored as they gave speeches limited to twelve minutes, Greenheck studiously reading his speech. All of them hit one hot button issue after another: immigration, abortion, creeping or steamrolling socialism, health care.
Greenheck touted the fact that he was the only medical doctor in the race. Barton was proud to be the only engineer. On the evils of lawyers and career politicians, they all agreed.
All of them painted Jane Norton as a moderate. Most of them trying to run to the right of the field.
Barton not so much. He sounded like an environmentalist and a moderate at times, and Tidwell was polished enough to make you believe he has a chance, until you checked your scorecard.
Introduced fourth, Ken Buck was the first candidate to receive serious applause. In fact, the vast majority of people in the building were clapping.
“My dad taught me two things about the playground. Never pick a fight and never lose a fight,” said Buck’s son Cody in seconding his nomination.
Rather than give much of a speech himself, Buck had over a dozen people give seconding speeches. References to the tea party drew overwhelming applause and whistles as did speakers referencing gun rights.
“Candidates need to respect the assembly by coming here and asking for your support,” Buck said to loud applause, taking a shot at onetime frontrunner Norton, who decided controversially after losing the March caucus straw poll to Buck that she would petition straight onto the ballot.
Buck said that too often, Colorado has sent people to Washington in the expectation they would change Congress. “Instead Congress has changed them.” He said it was wrong to bail out banks and auto companies. “We are bankrupt and if we continue on this path, we are morally bankrupt as well. I will fight for a balanced budget amendment.”
Buck said “arrogance and corruption” were rampant in Washington, D.C. He accused Congress of freezing benefits for veterans and Social Security recipients “and then the Senate give themselves a $7000 raise. We need to pass term limits and make sure they cant stay in the cesspool too long,”
He drew one of the strongest ovations of the day when he said that if foreign leader came and bad mouthed America, he would “get up and walk out.”
Voting for nominees is scheduled to take place at the end of the day, but it’s clear Buck will win the Senate nomination.