Wadhams: Bennet played dirty

Colorado Republican Chair Dick Wadhams doesn’t always send us his memos, so we had to go to unusual lengths to dig this up–namely to Lynn Bartels blog on the Denver Post web site. We’re not proud.

To summarize, Michael Bennet won because he played dirty, not because the Democrats had a better get out the vote effort, and certainly not because Ken Buck kept putting his foot, well, you know.


Anyway, the memo:

Friday, November 5, 2010

To: Colorado Republican Leaders

From: Dick Wadhams, State Chairman

While we had much to celebrate on election night, there is no doubt we are all disappointed in the races for U.S. Senator and Governor.

Republicans won a 33-32 majority in the Colorado House of Representatives for the first time since 2002 and narrowed the margin in the State Senate to 15-20.

Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn and Congressman Mike Coffman were overwhelmingly reelected. Congressman-elect Cory Gardner unseated Betsy Markey in the Fourth District while Congressman-elect Scott Tipton unseated John Salazar in the Third District resulting in a 4-3 Republican advantage in Colorado’s U.S. House delegation. The last time two incumbent members of Congress were defeated in the same election in Colorado was 46 years ago in 1964.

Attorney General John Suthers and CU Regent at-large Steve Bosley were reelected while Walker Stapleton unseated Democratic incumbent State Treasurer Kerry (sic) Kennedy and Scott Gessler unseated Democratic incumbent Secretary of State Bernie Buescher resulting in a clean sweep of the other statewide offices.

There is no doubt the malicious and deceitful ads by Michael Bennet were largely responsible for Ken Buck’s defeat. Bennet and his leftist allies spent millions during the final three weeks with despicable ads narrowly targeted to undecided unaffiliated women voters attempting to make Ken Buck unacceptable. They wanted to move the debate from the economy and spending to abortion and other social issues with those voters. That narrow slice of the electorate was still up for grabs as Buck was clinging to a narrow lead going into election day. Unfortunately, their strategy worked.

Despite the myth already being propagated since election day that Democrats had a more effective turn-out operation, the Colorado Republican Victory voter identification and turnout operation was successful and superior to the Democrats.

According to the Denver Post as of today with 96 percent of precincts reported, Buck had 783,426 votes as opposed to Suthers with 908,026, Stapleton with 815,715, and Gessler with 804,953. Clearly there was a drop off between Buck and our other statewide candidates. While the Bennet/leftist media strategy moved those unaffiliated women voters away from Buck, they largely went on to vote for Republicans Suthers, Stapleton, Gessler and Bosley.

The Secretary of State race certainly bears this out. Scott Gessler was an outstanding candidate but had very little money to spend in his campaign against Secretary of State Bernie Buescher. Voters knew very little about Gessler and not that much more about the incumbent Buescher. And yet, Gessler unseated Buescher.

Had the vaunted Democratic turnout operation been as effective as post-election mythology is portraying it, Democrats would have swept all of the statewide offices we won.

The bottom line is that Bennet’s deceitful negative media strategy worked in turning just enough undecided voters against Buck who were otherwise inclined to vote for Republican statewide candidates.

The Victory operation had fourteen offices across the state and, in conjunction with our county leadership, made 2,451,937 voter contacts. This exceeded our 2008 number by more than 300,000. After an aggressive effort to get Republicans—especially “low propensity” Republicans who do not reliably vote in non-presidential years—to sign up for permanent absentee mail ballot status, we had a 75,000 advantage over Democrats in the number of Republicans who voted early or absentee before election day.

More specific information will be available later this month on the success of our Victory effort but clearly the initial facts show what a successful effort it was. The Victory operation was critical to winning a House majority, electing two new Republican congressmen, reelecting a Republican Attorney General and CU Regent at-large, and electing a Secretary of State and State Treasurer.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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