Opinion

A Colorado Republican shakeup in the race for governor

|
Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Charlie Spiering,Republican Party,Colorado,2014 Elections,Scott Gessler,Tom Tancredo

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., easily jumped into the Colorado Republican primary race for governor, moving quickly to fight his way to the top of the ticket.

After announcing his bid for governor, he Finished second in the caucus straw poll a day later.

Since then he has announced big endorsements including a muscular financial team of Colorado businessmen and political insiders -- and even siphoning a few donors who already contributed to Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Gessler finished first in the straw poll, after months of groundwork recruiting grassroots supporters in an effort to defeat former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and a handful of other Republicans.

In response, Gessler released 30 more endorsements from local elected officials on Wednesday, making the case that he is the candidate who has earned the support from the grassroots. Gessler finished nearly 10 points above Beauprez in the straw poll.

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. finished third in the straw poll and is now touting the endorsement of Ted Nugent who is hosting a AR-15 giveaway on his behalf.

Other candidates in the race include former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, state Sen. Greg Brophy, businessman Steve House, and rancher Roni Bell Sylvester.

So what will happen in Colorado? Many establishment Republicans and businessmen rallied quickly behind Beauprez, while Gessler is working hard to maintain his early lead with his grassroots campaign.

Conservative Tom Tancredo, who has embraced a libertarian edge, maintains a staunch group of supporters at his side. As a five-term Colorado congressman who frequently runs for office in the state and a former long shot presidential candidate, Tancredo's name ID has helped him earn high marks in the polls against Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Gessler has worked hard to move the party past Tancredo, arguing that he is the more electable candidate in the increasingly Democratic state.

The Republican National Committee appears to be optimistic about Colorado again, recently announcing plans to pour resources into the state.

In past statewide elections, Colorado Republicans have a depressing losing streak thanks to flawed candidates, a fractured party, and well organized liberal activist groups.

Things are looking better for 2014 as Colorado Republicans have already recruited Rep. Cory Gardner, considered a strong challenger to Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

Once Republicans sort out a candidate to challenge Hickenlooper, they might find themselves within striking distance of uniting the state for victory in November.

View article comments Leave a comment