COLORADO SPRINGS — On the eve of the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Colorado, businessman Robert Blaha is driving a wedge between Darryl Glenn, his hometown rival, and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
Blaha, a previous supporter of Ted Cruz who is now all-in for Trump, accused the El Paso County commissioner and grassroots favorite in the race of being a “flip flopping political sell out.” For evidence, he pointed to remarks Glenn made to Cruz while the Texas senator was in Colorado stumping for Glenn last week.
Glenn’s comments have been interpreted as him “leaving the door open” to a GOP nominee other than Trump when he told Cruz, “I’m telling you. If you can be there, you find a way to get there. But I’m very serious about the Supreme Court, if that doesn’t happen.”
Denver Post politics reporter John Frank, who overheard the remark, wrote how “there” and “that” sounded like Glenn was referring to the Republican nomination at the July convention in Cleveland.
The Blaha campaign pounced, also taking the opportunity to make a veiled reference to Glenn’s divorce from his wife in March.
“Robert Blaha never wavers on his promises, whether in endorsements, his marriage, or his availability to answer tough questions,” his campaign spokeswoman Lydia Barbara said in a statement. “If Robert says it, he means it, and that does it.”
Adding fuel to the Blaha critique is Glenn’s recent endorsement by Nebraska Republican U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, a leader of the anti-Trump movement.
In an e-mail to The Colorado Independent, Barbara called Sasse’s endorsement a “dead giveaway” of Glenn’s support among a movement dubbed #NeverTrump.
A spokeswoman for Glenn declined to comment “other than that Darryl has always committed his support to the GOP presidential nominee.” Close readers will notice the campaign doesn’t use Trump’s name.
Blaha and Glenn both hail from the heavily Republican El Paso County and are running in different lanes for the GOP nomination in the Senate race. Blaha has fashioned himself as a non-politician outsider in the mold of Trump in an election season in which he says voters are looking for a “different cut of individual.” Glenn is running as a Tea Party flashback, endearing himself to the grassroots conservative base after becoming the lone candidate of seven to make it out of the state Republican assembly in April, a stunner that schoked everyone but Glenn.
Five Republicans are running in the primary, which will be decided tomorrow, June 28. Already, about 25 percent of Republicans have mailed in their ballots. The other three candidates in the race are former Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham, ex-lawmaker Jon Keyser and former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier. All five have said at various times during the campaign that they support Trump for president. Glenn once called Trump a “patriot.”
In recent weeks, Glenn has caught on with national conservative groups and high-profile movement conservative figures like Sarah Palin and Erick Erickson, the founder of RedState.com. Colorado also has a role in a potential #DumpTrump strategy at the Cleveland convention, with a Cruz delegate in Colorado acting as a leader in a possible change to convention rules that would allow bound delegates to vote their conscience without penalty.
Colorado is Cruz country.
During the presidential Republican primary here, the Texas senator snapped up all the available delegates to the Cleveland convention at Colorado’s state assembly in April. Those delegates came at the expense of Trump, who had all but skipped Colorado in the primary.
Trump later accused Republican officials here of overseeing a rigged caucus.[Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons on Flickr]