A week ago, Rep. Cory Gardner set the 2014 election season in Colorado on its ear by singlehandedly changing the face of the U.S. Senate race. His entry into the GOP primary all but cleared the field and immediately brought an intense national microscope to the Colorado race.
Almost a week later, former Rep. Bob Beauprez tried to reset the Governor’s race by jumping into the GOP gubernatorial primary. His announcement made big news, but what might make bigger news is that he has scared exactly no one out of the primary race, as of this writing.
So why was Gardner’s move a game changer and Beauprez’s just another announcement?
I think some of the key differences are that Gardner’s move came after productive negotiations with the frontrunner in the GOP Senate primary. Others also looked at Gardner as one of the big stars in the GOP, with him being one of the few Republicans that have yet to be tagged with re-tread status.
Beauprez may have tried to negotiate with others in the GOP gubernatorial primary, but the discussions were obviously unproductive. I think a key element to why is due to the fact that while Beauprez is a big name in Colorado’s Republican Party, he’s just as big as others already in the race. He hasn’t won any more or less races than Tom Tancredo, he isn’t in the news more than Scott Gessler and frankly he’s not more conservative that Sens. Kopp or Brophy.
Beauprez is simply just one more Republican face in the GOP gubernatorial primary.
But, there is a way for Beauprez to finally separate himself from his fellow primary candidates. It simply comes down to fundraising. Can he seriously outraise the other candidates? That is the needed quality for any candidate to make a game changer moment.
But remember that the Colorado GOP is trying to attract the 2016 Republican National Convention to Denver and that effort will require a great deal of support from Republicans in Colorado.
There is a lot of different GOP fundraising needs hitting up a finite group of Republican funders in Colorado. Something has to give, or rather not give, as the case may be.
Another element that adds difficulty to GOP fundraising is that Gov. John Hickenlooper has been a consistent supporter of oil and gas companies. Well-heeled oil and gas companies who usually find GOP candidates as their only option now can afford to sit this race out, or simply support the RNC bid instead.
So between the inability to raise enough money to blow everyone else out of the water, and with only an equal amount of name recognition, Bob Beauprez has a steep climb to the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He is certainly a contender, but the problem is that so are many of the other names remaining in the race.
When you cannot break out of the peloton, the only choice is to hope the other guys crash before you do. It doesn’t look like anyone is breaking out of the pack for the final sprint until the very last minute. And as any racing fan knows, if you wait until the end of the race to break out, it may be too late.
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.