Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky just sent a big “NO!” to far-right candidates vying for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate next year, and at least one of Colorado’s GOP favorites, Tim Neville, may have reason to worry.
In a Politico interview published today, McConnell said the party cannot continue to nominate candidates who can’t win, like Indiana’s Richard Mourdock, Missouri’s Todd Akin, Nevada’s Sharron Angle and Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell.
“We will not nominate anybody for the United States Senate on the Republican side that is not appealing to the general election,” McConnell said today.
McConnell told reporters his Party’s nominees must be able to win in swing states like Colorado.
His remarks may not sit well with many of those running for the Republican nod for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver.
State Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, appears to be near the top of that field. Neville, a Tea Party conservative, has great appeal among the far right. He’s been cited as the “rare conservative who can win in a swing district,” beating an incumbent Democrat to win his 2014 Senate race.
Norm Provizer, a professor of political science at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said today that McConnell’s statement reinforces the division that already exists within the Republican Party.
“I’m sure Ted Cruz would question” that statement, he said.
Colorado has already gone down the path of electing someone very conservative but who appeared moderate, and that’s Sen. Cory Gardner of Yuma, Provizer said.
“You want to repeat that” for 2016. On the other hand, it would help to have candidates who are “honestly center right and can appeal to a broader segment. If your only appeal is to the core of the Republican Party, you lose.”
Correction 12/18/2015: This story originally stated that Christine O’Donnell was from New Hampshire. She is from Delaware.
Photo credit: Colorado Senate GOP, Creative Commons, Flickr.