LOVELAND– By the time voting was announced at just before 3 pm at the Colorado Republican Assembly today, more than half the delegates had exited the building, leaving candidates, their families and staff, reporters, and a few hundred political junkies to mill around to the very end.
It was, as expected, a partisan lovefest that delivered few surprises, except perhaps the flat-out victory the delegates handed to gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes. Many believed Maes might secure 30 percent support among the delegates, enough to make it onto the August primary ballot but he did that and better. The Evergreen businessman pulled in more delegate support than six-term Congressman Scott McInnis, whose name recognition and deep political connections among the Republican Party and its traditional financial backers made him the clear man to beat ever since he entered the race. McInnis, who has been dodging the issue of Maes’ candidacy on and off for months, now unequivocally has a race on his hands. Maes won 49.35 percent of the delegate vote and McInnis won 48.89 percent.
Weld County D.A. Ken Buck also won big in the contest for United States Senate, capturing 76 percent of delegate votes. Struggling longtime frontrunner Jane Norton opted out of the assembly process and has said she will petition on to the August primary ballot. Buck’s clear victory here today put more wind into his sails among activist voters and party faithful. Norton, however, is likely to receive a bump tonight when tea party favorite Sara Palin speaks at the Magness Center at the university of Denver, where she is expected to endorse Norton.
3528 delegate votes were cast here today.
In the treasurer race financial consultant J.J. Ament swamped wealthy conservative donor and sometime comedian Ali Hasan. Ament took 2788 votes for 79.0 percent while Hassan landed 690 votes for 19.56 percent. Walker Stapleton, a Bush family real estate developer, didn’t rate.
In the U.S. Senate delegate voting Robert Greenheck pulled down 56 votes for 1.59 percent; Cleve Tidwell drew 522 votes for 14.8 percent; and Ken Buck drew 2701 or 76.56 percent.