Who is Keyser Söze?
That was the central question in the 1995 crime thriller ‘The Usual Suspects’. The answer, of course, has never been revealed. (Or has it?) Anyway, the only Keyser question on the minds of political observers in Colorado has been answered. Yes, Jon Keyser will be in the crowded Republican race to try and unseat Democrat Michael Bennet from the U.S. Senate in November.
So who is Jon Keyser? He’s a 34-year-old, first-term member of the Colorado House of Representatives who will resign from his local lawmaker seat so he can devote his full attention to a run at the big show. What’s he bring to a race that includes state Sen. Tim Neville, wealthy Colorado Springs businessman Robert Blaha, and former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, among several others?
Youth, an apparent coating of fairy dust from the national GOP establishment, and, oh, a biographical data point that includes killing terrorists as part of special ops missions for the U.S. military.
Keyser told The Denver Post’s Mark K. Matthews today that he decided to get in the race after Bennet’s vote on the Iran nuclear-arms deal— a statement also made by the other latest Republican challenger, Robert Blaha, who looks to jump in officially any day now.
With Keyser in, is the GOP field settled before the March 1 Republican caucuses? It wasn’t until March that current Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner got in the race against Democrat Mark Udall last time around. But when he did, he cleared the field. So far it doesn’t look like Keyser has pulled any kind of Söze in that regard.
Some top-tier candidates in the Colorado GOP depth chart have already decided to take a pass on the race, including Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Arapahoe District Attorney George Brauchler, and Cortez Congressman Scott Tipton.
In a news release, Colorado Democrats pointed to that as a reason they think Bennet will win in November, predicting a “divisive and damaging” Republican primary. Only three candidates could possibly emerge from the GOP state* convention in April to get on the ballot, unless others decide to petition themselves onto the ballot instead.
*A previous version of this post stated the county convention is an April. It’s the GOP state convention.