- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
In defeat, Colo. GOP gets set for victory
Question of the Day
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.
- Plagiarism scandal threatens Senate campaign of Montana Democrat John Walsh
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Carson wins straw poll as conservatives focus on winning battle of ideas
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq