- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
In defeat, Colo. GOP gets set for victory
DENVER — Back in November, Colorado Republicans took an important first step toward regaining their former status as the state’s dominant political party: They lost.
Colorado voters swung for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, ousted Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and kept Democrats in charge of the state’ General Assembly. Given that Colorado already had a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators, the election effectively erased the Republicans’ last hold on what was once a bright red state and moved it into the purple - or even blue - column.
But unlike the national Republican Party, which is fighting among itself as it tries to find a voice to counter a popular president, party leaders in Colorado have jumped into action.
“They have to add money and think tanks - in other words, try to reverse-engineer the infrastructure that the Democrats put in over the last four years,” said Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli. “The good news is that the old guard recognizes the problem and is trying to help.”
Experienced Republican hands like former Gov. Bill Owens and former Sen. Wayne Allard recently met with the party’s emerging leaders to brainstorm, trouble-shoot and plot strategy. In the past few months, at least two Republican-themed organizations have emerged, founded not by the usual Republican suspects, but by newcomers to the political scene.
“One of the prerequisites for victory is to go through a defeat,” said Mr. Owens, who served two terms as governor in the Republicans’ heyday from 1998 to 2006. “I would have preferred it not happen, but that definitely lays the groundwork for victory.”
“Being in the minority focuses the mind,” Mr. Owens said. “It allows us to bring new people into the coalition and reminds us we have more in common with each other than we do with the Democrats.”
State Republicans have taken that advice to heart by building grass-roots support and solidifying their finances. Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams said that the party, which was $600,000 in the red when he took over two years ago, is now debt-free.
In April, about 5,000 Coloradans turned out for the National Tea Party, which wasn’t organized by Republicans but whose themes - individual liberty, smaller government and lower taxes - fit neatly into the party’s philosophy.
“The sheer size of the tea party shows widespread discontent with the new administration and the Democratic majority,” said Mr. Wadhams.
That leads to what may be the biggest advantage for Republicans: They’re not running the show, and therefore can sit back and watch their stock rise when the Democrats blunder.
In Colorado, that phenomenon is already at work in the governor’s race, where Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. is seen as vulnerable. An independent survey released last month by Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, N.C., showed former Republican Rep. Scott McInnis leading Mr. Ritter in a hypothetical 2010 match-up by a margin of 48 percent to 41 percent.
There’s also opportunity for Republicans in 2010 on the Senate side. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, appointed in January by Mr. Ritter after Sen. Ken Salazar was named secretary of the interior, must face the voters in 2010 to keep his seat.
While the former Denver Public Schools superintendent has raised an impressive $1.4 million, this is his first bid for public office. “They [Republicans] have the benefit of weak-appearing Democratic incumbents,” said pollster Mr. Ciruli. “They’re still searching for the right candidates and perhaps a theme, but they’re better off than they were in the fall when [Republican presidential nominee] John McCain was struggling.”
On the gubernatorial side, Mr. McInnis has already declared his candidacy, as has Evergreen businessman Dan Maes. State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry is considering entering the race.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Californians encouraged to get the Christmas gift that gives all year long: Obamacare
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- Fast-food protests spur backlash
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Gay couple's complaint against Colo. baker gets hearing
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Global economy, the civilizing power of markets and public morals.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow