Weld County Republican D.A. Ken Buck announced Wednesday he is running to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate, looking to unseat first-term Democrat Mark Udall. The news made a splash, firing up conservative supporters hungry for a substantial Republican candidate to enter the race and generating groans and sharp criticism from Democrats who were relieved to see him recede from the statewide political stage three years ago.
This is Buck’s second run at the Senate. He lost by a narrow margin, something like 1 percent of the vote, in Republican-wave year 2010 to Michael Bennet, who had never before run for office. That race turned in the end on social issues, Buck’s conservative stances highlighted by the opposition alienated women and unaffiliated moderate voters. Those issues are already filling email boxes, broadcast airtime, newspaper column inches and blog posts in the state and around the country.
The national Democratic House Majority PAC is positioning Buck’s candidacy as a liability to Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, who is running in what’s now the state’s toss-up Sixth Congressional District.
“Mike Coffman and Ken Buck are two ideological peas in an extremist, Tea Party pod,” Andy Stone, communications director, was quoted in an email blast Thursday. “After all, both Coffman and Buck have shown themselves to be dangerously out of touch with Coloradans in supporting a personhood amendment to ban abortion even in the case of rape and incest and opposing the promise of treatment for previously untreatable diseases potentially offered by embryonic stem cell research.”
Buck appeared two weeks ago at the Colorado Christian University-hosted Western Conservative Summit. His coming candidate announcement was perhaps the worst kept secret all weekend.
Lean and closely cropped, Buck energized the crowd with a very short speech. He celebrated gun rights, touching on an issue that has taken the state by storm in the wake of last summer’s Aurora theater shootings and the gun laws that passed in response last spring. Then he reported he was free of the lymphoma that he had been battling for the last year or so. The cheers that erupted in the ballroom acknowledged, in part, that the clean bill of health freed Buck to run for office.
“I am such a romantic husband, I bought my wife a 9mm for Valentines day, and let me tell you, it was a game changer in the marriage,” he said. “I’m a much more polite husband now.”
“I want to thank you for your prayers… I’m cancer free.”