Former Congressman Bob Beauprez made headlines this week with some heavy hitter endorsements. Mitt Romney joined State Sen. Greg Brophy and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers in endorsing Beauprez for governor.
On paper, the endorsements look like a key advantage for Beauprez in his four way primary against Tom Tancredo, Scott Gessler and Mike Kopp. And indeed, anytime a former presidential nominee endorses you, it should amount to a clear advantage.
But determining if the endorsements will be an advantage will come down to trying to figure out how die hard Republicans will vote on June 24.
I realize that sounds like political analysis from Captain Obvious, but allow me to explain.
Democratic voters have been consistently putting winning in front of party purity for several election cycles. That’s why so many inhabit major positions.
As a voting bloc, Republicans are notoriously more fond of purity and “being right” than they are in electing nominees that can win in a general election.
While Romney, Suthers and Brophy are indeed big names and major endorsements, will they come across has true conservatives that are backing another true conservative?
That’s the million dollar question.
Romney represents a part of the Republican Party that has not enjoyed great influence as of late. The pragmatic business leaders that used to run the GOP with an iron fist have seen the reigns of the party handed to Tea Party conservatives for about four years.
But perhaps these endorsements, and indeed the success of Bob Beauprez’s candidacy, will show that control of the GOP in Colorado is leaning back toward the fiscal conservative wing of the party.
Among Beauprez’s opponents, only Scott Gessler is truly aiming for the same crowd of voters. Fiscal conservatives are worried about Tom Tancredo’s stance on immigration and Mike Kopp has embraced social conservatives with his double down takes on abortion issues.
If Bob Beauprez is able to secure the nomination, he may very well be a sign that the fiscal conservatives are finally beginning to take control back. However, the proposition is wrought with danger for that same group.
If Bob Beauprez is the nominee and anointed as a moderate business leader, and then loses to John Hickenlooper by more than a handful of points, will that loss prove to the party that pragmatism is no guarantee of a victory? In essence, will it reset the fight for the heart of the GOP all over again?
There are awful lot of “ifs” in this whole line of logic, but trust me; Republican leaders in Colorado are considering such long chains of “ifs”.
We’re not just talking about political theater here; we’re talking about what wing influences one of the two major political parties in Colorado.
The GOP has been in the wilderness for some time, and if they don’t figure out how to win some major elections, that time in the wilderness will not come to an end anytime soon.
Dominic Dezzutti’s Latest Blog Entries
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.