Littwin: The GOP needs to win Colorado. So why is the Senate race a farce?

For those keeping score at home, yesterday was the day chaos in the Colorado Republican Party turned to farce, setting records for unforced errors along the way.

As you’ve probably heard, two more GOP Senate candidates were deemed “insufficient” by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, or at least their attempts to petition onto the ballot were. And at this point in the race – if you still want to call it a race — that’s pretty much the same thing.

OK, being called insufficient may not be quite as bad as being called “Lucifer in the flesh,” but it’s bad enough. Robert Blaha and Ryan Frazier could tell you. They joined the insufficiency ranks where Jon Keyser, the erstwhile establishment favorite, once stood alone.

Only Jack Graham, the former Colorado State quarterback and athletic director — and also, by the way, a pro-choice former Democrat — has passed signature-gathering muster. Of course he has Dick Wadhams on his team. Graham will be joined on the ballot by El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, a virtual unknown in the rest of the state, who won his spot by scoring 70 percent of the vote at the GOP state convention because, by all accounts, he gave a good speech.

If you’re having trouble imagining a Graham-Glenn primary with the winner running as the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, let’s just say you’re not alone. I keep waiting for Tom Tancredo to announce he’s going to save the party (again) by running on some other party’s ticket. I mean, even before the Blaha-Frazier double snafu, a group called the El Paso County Republican Strategy Forum was making news by abandoning the Republican field in favor of Libertarian Party candidate Lily Tang Williams.

And now Glenn is already telling The Independent’s Corey Hutchins that he’s ready to reach out to Blaha and Frazier for their support if they don’t make the ballot.

It’s not over yet, of course. Keyser, who missed qualifying by 86 signatures on what his team is calling a technicality, has gone to court (where a judge is supposed to rule today) to challenge the result. Frazier says he’ll likely challenge, too. Blaha said he’s reviewing the situation and thinks the record will show that he’s in “substantial compliance,” whatever that means.

We know the three of them spent substantially — just under a combined $400,000 — to collect the required 1,500 unique signatures in each of the seven congressional districts. Getting those signatures is a tricky proposition that has often led to failure, which is hardly surprising given the many rules put in effect that discourage too much small-d democracy.

At this point, it’s unclear whether there will be two candidates in the Republican primary or any number up to five. But whatever the final number turns out to be, as of now there are three losers in a race that is still waiting for the starting gun.

And so the question, once again, for Colorado Republicans is this: Can’t anybody here play this game?

It doesn’t look that way. If you’ll recall, Republicans spent months searching for a legitimate candidate willing to get in the race against Michael Bennet, who is routinely described as the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent running in this cycle. And yet, there were no takers. Republicans began their search by looking for a new Cory Gardner. In the end, they would have settled for an old Bob Beauprez. All that’s at stake is control of the U.S. Senate, which is why this race has gotten so much attention.

It’s no secret why Republicans were having trouble finding a candidate. It’s not 2014 any more. It’s a presidential election year, in which Democrats turn out in much higher numbers, and, just to make the hill that much higher to climb, Republicans have spent an entire presidential primary season making things difficult in a swing state like Colorado, attacking Hispanics (Trump), women (Trump), Muslims (Trump), more women (Trump), refugees (Trump), and still more women (Trump).

So Republicans finally settled on Jon Keyser, a state representative who quit one year into his term to run against Bennet, because they had to settle on someone. He looks the part. He’s got a resume. But he’s young, really young, and he’s no better known — which is to say not at all — than the rest of the field. He has the added burden of being the establishment candidate in a year when Republicans, and a lot of Democrats, are desperate for outsiders.

And now he’s not just an insider, but one whose insider team couldn’t even get him on the ballot. I keep hearing that the smart money is still on Keyser winning his court battle. Maybe. Of course, the smart money was also on Tim Neville coming out of the state convention.

At this point, it’s hard to know what to think. But here’s my guess: The really smart money on the Republican side must be wondering if there’s any smart money left.


Photo credit: Gordon, Creative Commons, Flickr


  1. “Predictions are hard especially when they’re about the future. “ – Yogi Berra

    As is often the case, Mr. Littwin buries the most revealing part of his column in the last paragraph. Today it’s the first four words of the column’s last sentence: “But here’s my guess”.

    Readers should never lose sight of the fact that the Pulitzer-less Mr. Littwin is always guessing. It’s more than just guessing, it’s wild biased guessing.

    And it’s important to remember that Mr. Littwin does not live in the real world. He lives in an insulated risk-free cocoon where he ignores, and the Colorado Independent allows him to ignore, inconvenient facts that contradict his rather bizarre political views; where he ignores, and the CI allows him to ignore, his rather, well, less than stellar predictions; where performance and compensation are unrelated.

    But you don’t have to go back very far to see just how right Yogi was. Here are just a few of Mr. Littwin’s more memorable wild biased guesses about the issues he thought would shape the 2014 Colorado election for US senator:

    – Women already vote in large numbers for Democrats. If contraception coverage becomes an issue, that number should only grow. It’s certainly the way that Democrats will bet
    – In the year of women’s issues, the Democrats had already brought in their Big 3 — Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama — to energize the voters. But Bill comes in as the closer. And he’s still got wicked stuff.
    – There are issues and then there are issues. The Republican stand on abortion and, from some, on birth control is a big part of the Republican problem with women.
    – And there is another big issue, but it works the other way: the government shutdown. Gardner not only voted for the shutdown, he also voted, just recently, against raising the debt ceiling, risking default. Then there are the rest of the issues. Gardner is on the wrong side of the poll numbers on immigration reform (Bennet beat Buck 81-19 on the Latino vote), on “forcible rape” (remember this vote, because it will become a major issue), on personhood, on abortion, on minimum wage, on cutting $40 billion in food stamps, on gay rights, on his vote for the Ryan budget and its impact on Medicare.
    – So, might Colorado turn away from Democrats? The answer is easy enough: It would be possible if — and this is one gigantic if — there were something else to turn toward.
    – Can (Cory Gardner) the 10th most conservative House member — a number that most Tea Partiers would give up their Ted Cruz decoder ring to claim — really be elected statewide in a Colorado that has been trending blue for a decade?

    Not a single one helped now former Senator Mark Udall win reelection. Not one.

    And since he ignores—and is allowed to ignore—his bad predictions (I know, that’s redundant) he continues to make political predictions as if he had a good handle on politics.

    If Mr. Littwin had any pride at all—and, of course, he doesn’t–he would realize how bad he is at making predictions.

    Of course judging by his columns being bad at something has never stopped him.


    “Hillary Clinton snapped at a Greenpeace protester. She linked Bernie Sanders and tea party Republicans. And she bristled with anger when nearly two dozen Sanders supporters marched out of an event near her home outside New York City, shouting “if she wins, we lose.”
    “They don’t want to listen to anyone else,” she shot back. “We actually have to do something. Not just complain about what is happening.”
    After a year of campaigning, months of debates and 35 primary elections, Sanders is finally getting under Clinton’s skin in the Democratic presidential race.” – Associated Press

    For a year now, Hillary Clinton’s misuse of email during her tenure as Secretary of State has hung like a dark cloud over her presidential campaign. As I told you months ago, EmailGate isn’t going away, despite the best efforts of Team Clinton to make it disappear. Instead, the scandal has gotten worse, with never-ending revelations of apparent misconduct by Ms. Clinton and her staff. At this point, EmailGate may be the only thing standing between Hillary and the White House this November.

    Specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation examination of EmailGate, pursuant to provisions of the Espionage Act, poses a major threat to Ms. Clinton’s presidential aspirations. However, even if the FBI recommends prosecution of her or members of her inner circle for mishandling of classified information—which is something the politically unconnected routinely do face prosecution for—it’s by no means certain that the Department of Justice will follow the FBI’s lead. –

    Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has to worry about a steep drop-off of the black vote that could imperil her chances of winning the White House in November, an analysis has found.

    The number of African-Americans who voted in Tuesday’s primaries plummeted by an estimated 40 percent in Ohio, 38 percent in Florida and 34 percent in North Carolina compared with the 2008 Democratic primary when Barack Obama was on the ballot, reported the advocacy group Black Votes Matter. – New York Post

    “White men narrowly backed Hillary Clinton in her 2008 race for president, but they are resisting her candidacy this time around in major battleground states, rattling some Democrats about her general-election strategy.

    While Mrs. Clinton swept the five major primaries on Tuesday, she lost white men in all of them, and by double-digit margins in Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, exit polls showed — a sharp turnabout from 2008, when she won double-digit victories among white male voters in all three states.

    She also performed poorly on Tuesday with independents, who have never been among her core supporters. But white men were, at least when Mrs. Clinton was running against a black opponent: She explicitly appealed to them in 2008, extolling the Second Amendment, mocking Barack Obama’s comment that working-class voters “cling to guns or religion” and even needling him at one point over his difficulties with “working, hard-working Americans, white Americans.” – New York Times

    “Call it “democratic socialism” to make yourself feel better, but what we have is an old hippie regurgitating cut-rate Lenin. And it’s obvious — especially when contrasted with the Democrat alternative — this kind of radical idealism is what really propels the Democratic Party.

    “Our job is not to divide. Our job is to bring people together!” Sanders roars in the ad. All genders, ethnicities, races, ages, and sexualities will meld into one and force government to “work” for everyone. The thing is, if we weren’t divide by our gender, race, class, and sexual orientation, Democrats wouldn’t win any elections.” –

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Memorial Day – May 30, 2016

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