Tim Neville officially launched his U.S. Senate run Tuesday night, blasting Planned Parenthood, Obamacare and the EPA.
If you love unregulated guns, want to destroy Planned Parenthood and kick immigrants out of the United States, you should have been at state Sen. Tim Neville’s kick-off party.
At his campaign headquarters in suburban Ken Caryl, Colorado, Neville pledged he would beat Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and bring freedom lovin’ conservative values to Washington D.C.
Neville touted his record voting for gun rights and militarized borders, and against Obamacare, “illegal immigrants,” national common core education standards and the Environmental Protection Agency in the wake of the Gold King Mine spill. He also took aim at Planned Parenthood.
Neville is a member of the Republican Study Committee of Colorado that held a daylong hearing in November on the Planned Parenthood videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress. That video claimed the women’s health organization was trafficking fetal tissue.
Less than three weeks after the Republican Study Committee hearing, Robert Dear opened fire on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, killing a police officer and two others. He reportedly cited “no more baby parts,” a possible reference to the video, as his reason for the attack.
At his kickoff, Neville, who has made no public statement about the murders, railed against the women’s health organization: “Planned Parenthood ignores the law, kills the unborn and sells their body parts for profit, and when both parties can’t come together to end this tragedy, we have an issue with leadership.”
He went on to promise to gut all funding to abortion providers and support legislation like the “Life at Conception” act. Colorado voters have three times rejected similar efforts.
“I will be the next great Republican senator from Colorado,” Neville said, to the crowd’s cheers. He blasted Bennet, whom Neville said is a puppet of President Barack Obama. Neville also attacked Bennet for his recent vote in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement, which Neville said hurts Israel and supports the religious leaders of Iran.
The event was a who’s who of Colorado’s far right. Neville family friend and head of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Dudley Brown showed up, alongside state Sen. Laura Woods, former state Sen. Ted Harvey and state Reps. Justin Everett of Littleton, Lori Saine of Firestone, Steve Humphrey of Severance and Kim Ransom of Littleton.
The Neville family, which includes his wife and business partner Barbara, son and state Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock and Barbara’s sister Julie Williams, an ousted member of the Jefferson County Board of Education, joined in the festivities. Sen. Neville’s campaign will be managed by his son, Joe, a former lobbyist for RMGO.
“I don’t see anyone else being more conservative than Tim,” said Rep. Humphrey, who pointed to Neville’s ability to communicate, coupled with a strong pulled-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps story that Humphrey said will resonate with voters of all persuasions, not just the conservative base.
Sen. Neville, in an interview with The Colorado Independent, addressed one of the big challenges for 2016: winning a Senate seat in a presidential election year. Wayne Allard, in 1996, was the last Republican to do so.
Why does Neville think he can win? “We have a proven track record on the issues” and aren’t shy about that record, he said. “People can count on that consistency.”
Neville also pointed to his 2014 state Senate win against incumbent Democrat (then-Sen. Jeanne Nicholson of Blackhawk), in a district that Neville says mirrors the state’s voting demographics, split almost equally between Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. “We know how to run tough races and how to win.”
Neville shrugs off the suggestion that he won’t appeal to Democrats and independents — at least the latter of which he would need to sway in a general election. Unaffiliated voters, and many Democrats, are looking for “leadership and someone who will represent them, tell the truth and stick to it. All Americans are looking for control over their lives,” he said.
Neville refused to criticize fellow Republican candidates. “I don’t worry about what other folks are doing,” Neville told The Colorado Independent. “I run on my record and will defend it, and will talk about the issues, and that’s what the people deserve.”
Rep. Everett picked up the sword against Neville’s GOP rivals without hesitation, swiping at Neville’s biggest Republican rival — Rep. Jon Keyser, who has been touted by Party insiders as an electable candidate and the likely recipient of national Republican establishment money.
Keyser was “mediocre at best in his legislative record,” Everett told The Colorado Independent. “He’s not the second coming of Cory Gardner, and that’s how he’s being billed.”
Everett said Gardner’s years of political experience, both at the State Capitol and in the U.S. House, is a striking difference between Gardner and Keyser. “Cory spent years building up his base and his legislative record.”
As to whether Keyser is Gardner 2.0, Everett said, “I don’t think that message will fly with voters.”
Everett noted two votes in Keyser’s record that will trouble the conservative base: He joined Democrats to kill an amendment that would have brought a gun rights bill to the House floor and voted against a budget amendment to defund a state agency that tracks parents who vaccinate their kids.
Neville could win the nomination, but because of his intractable, far-right voting record, Dems say he would have little chance of actually beating Bennet.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today said Neville is little more than a second- or third-tier candidate. His “reckless, far right-wing positions show that he is totally out of touch with Colorado families.”
Photo credit: Marianne Goodland
Correction: story corrected 1/8/16 to identify event location and to a correct quote by Rep. Justin Everett.
Clarification 2/16/2015: This story originally opened with the clause, “if you believe vaccines are a big government conspiracy.” The vaccination issue was not mentioned at the campaign kickoff, and while Neville has supported a Parents Bill of Rights that would allow guardians to opt their children out of vaccination, he has not expressed that it was a big government conspiracy. The clause was written by the managing editor and has been taken out to avoid any confusion.