GOP Gov. Primary’s Odd Twists

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Dominic Dezzutti By Dominic Dezzutti
CBSDenver.com Blogger
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With mail-in ballots being sent out this week and only a little over two weeks before the official Primary Election Day, it’s about time the Republican Gubernatorial Primary began to heat up.

But this week has included some odd twists and turns, including a no-show for a one hour prime time debate.

Not one to bury the lead, let me start with the debate.

CBS4 and Colorado Public Television held its first Colorado Decides debate of the year on Thursday this week. The debate planned to feature three of the four candidates running the GOP Gubernatorial primary.

Tom Tancredo declined to participate, but he declined the original invitation months ago.

Scott Gessler declined to participate five minutes after he was supposed to arrive to the studios.

Obviously, that decision changed our debate, but gratefully, both Bob Beauprez and Mike Kopp were willing to continue and take advantage of the opportunity of one hour of free prime-time air time to talk to our statewide audience about the issues of the primary election.

The debate runs on Friday at 9:00 p.m. on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. But the debate was just one of the odd turns this week.

The results of a Magellan poll showed that Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez are essentially neck and neck with 27 and 25 percent respectively. Gessler and Kopp are behind in the poll with 13 and 10 percent respectively.

But while Gessler may not enjoy the polling results, he did enjoy another successful two weeks of fundraising, outraising all three of his opponents during the last two weeks of May, as he did the first two weeks of May.

That’s an odd juxtaposition when you consider that polling and fundraising success usually go a bit closer together. One is certainly not a guarantee of the other, but you know what I mean.

Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, a group with high dollar Democratic ties, Protect Colorado Values, has released a fairly large media buy that includes TV ads that say Tom Tancredo is too conservative for Colorado and touts how against Obamacare he is.

While there is little for Tancredo to argue with in the ad, the reason it is being presented is because Democrats want Tancredo to win so that Hickenlooper would theoretically have an easier shot at re-election. The same group also released negative ads about Bob Beaurpez, again theoretically to get Tancredo the nomination.

This is not a new strategy, but it’s still sneaky and more than a little weird for most voters to consider. The strategy counts on the audience to not look too closely and make decisions based on some pretty flimsy reasoning. I mean, the main ad supporting Tancredo is talking about Obamacare. Were Republican voters honestly worried that Bob Beauprez, Mike Kopp and Scott Gessler were somehow in favor of the idea?

While any one of these particular events isn’t earth shattering, taken as a whole, it spells that the next two weeks are going to be nutty at best and down right surreal at worst.

Why should you care? Well, primary elections are usually a good sign of what’s to come. It’s the opening act to the circus that is the general election. That means if this season is this crazy, October may set records.

You can’t say you were not warned.

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.

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