Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Colorado Republicans Senate Race Begins to Assemble

Who will be the Republican nominee against Senator Michael Bennet? The March 1st caucus will begin the sorting process. Out of the long list of names mentioned, mostly self-promoted, only a few will go a caucus route or, if they do, survive Tuesday night.

El Paso, Colorado’s largest Republican dominated county, has four names on the list, including two current county commissioners. Jefferson County has the reputed frontrunner, State Senator Tim Neville, and a county commissioner and state representative.

A few of these candidates will attempt to petition onto the primary ballot scheduled June 28, 2016.

None of the candidates have high-profiles, and some have views appearing too narrow to attract significant support or they will be unattractive to major donors.

Bennet can’t be relaxed about national senate politics in 2016. Not only are there issues that are polarizing this electorate, such as the Scalia vacancy and the Iran nuclear agreement, but neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders look like a strong re-election partner.

Bennet, like most incumbents, has a lot of money on hand (more than $7 million) for the campaign. In 2014, the Mark Udall vs. Cory Gardner race spent more than $100 million, with most of it from national political committees.

Bennet’s 2010 election, the year of the Tea Party takeover of Colorado’s Republican Party, was hardly a landslide. He hopes the higher turnout of 2016’s presidential race will help him motivate infrequent voting Democrats and liberals. But the general expectation is for a close race if the Republicans stay out of the weeds with their nominee.

Colorado’s Republican Candidates for US Senate, 2016

Robert Blaha – Businessman
Declared in January 2016. President at Human Capital Associates, a firm that conducts leadership training for businesses. Running in response to the Iran deal, which he strongly opposes. In the 2012 campaign, he put about $775,000 into a losing primary bid to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 5th Congressional District. Pledged: “If I am not able to reduce illegal immigration by 50 percent, drastically cut the deficit, and help fix this horrific tax system, I’ll voluntarily leave after one term.”

Charlie Ehler-Retired Air Force Computer Programmer
Tea Party activist. Retired in 2006. Resident of Fountain for 20 years. Number one issue is to balance the federal budget.

Ryan Frazier - Former Aurora Councilman 
Declared December 2015. Previously worked for 9News as a pundit. Frazier last ran for office in 2011, when he unsuccessfully ran for Aurora mayor. He also previously mounted an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2010 against U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden.

Darryl Glenn - El Paso County Supervisor
First to declare ( January 2015). African American lawyer. Retired Air Force Officer, elected twice to Colorado Springs City Council and twice to El Paso Board of County Commissioners. Calls himself a “Christian constitutional conservative.”

Jack Graham – Businessman
Declared in January 2016. Former CSU Athletic Director. Hired Dick Wadhams as campaign manager. No previous political experience, was a highly successful businessman in the reinsurance industry

Jon Keyser – State Representative
Declared in January 2016. 34 year old corporate lawyer. Air Force veteran, Bronze Star recipient and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, has said he was largely motivated to run because of Bennet's decision last year to support the administration's nuclear deal with Iran. Lives in Morrison. Resigned as State Rep to focus on Senate run.

Peg Littleton - El Paso County Commissioner 
Declared in January 2016. First elected to public office as a representative to the State Board of Education from the 5th Congressional District in 2004. Former teacher and real estate agent.

Greg Lopez - Former director of the Colorado Small Business Administration
Declared July 2015. Bilingual. Served on the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board for 10 years, including a year as interim president. Served as mayor of Parker for four years, beginning in 1992 (when he was only 27). When Lopez was running for mayor, he was a Democrat. He changed his party affiliation to Republican in 1994, and ran for the state Senate in 1998. He lives in Elizabeth. An Air Force veteran. He and his wife run GNL Concepts, a consulting firm.

Tim Neville - State Senator
Declared in September 2015. Tea Party. From Florida, moved to Colorado in 1961. Lives in Littleton. Owns an insurance agency. Sponsored Senate Bill 16-017, which would allow concealed carry without a permit in Colorado.

Donald Rosier - Jefferson County Commissioner 
Declared in December 2015. Elected Jefferson County Commissioner (District 3) in November 2010 and won re-election to another four year term in November 2014. Lifelong Jeffco resident.

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

You missed