One of the many issues that have ailed the Republican Party in the last few years is that a majority of the party seemed to prefer to be right than to be in power, forgetting that unaffiliated voters actually cast votes in general elections.
However, much of Colorado’s GOP has worked to shed this non-pragmatic approach this year. The primary wins of Bob Beauprez, Ken Buck and Scott Tipton point to an actual resurgence of the establishment wing of the GOP.
But, there was one glaring example in Colorado where the establishment failed to prevail.
Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners organization did their best to make sure that the most conservative candidates in two key State Senate GOP primary races in Jefferson County won the day. The mail pieces and ads used in these primaries were the kinds that even make people who enjoy battle-mode politics cringe.
Despite how ugly these primary campaigns became, it apparently worked. And in doing so, these campaigns helped make sure that Democrats will retain their razor thin majority in the Colorado State Senate.
Jefferson County was once a bastion of the Republican Party in Colorado. However, in recent years it has become the classic representation of the purple nature of Colorado’s constituency. It is not a county where candidates who represent the die hard edges of either political party can expect to do well in a general election.
Yet, somehow RMGO felt that the very best move to gain more power and influence in the State Legislature would be to make sure the most conservative candidates would win primaries and be up for two very competitive Senate races in Jefferson County.
One of the races is for the seat that Evie Hudak relinquished after being threatened with a recall election. Former Arvada City Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger was named to complete Hudak’s term. So even though Zenzinger is the technical incumbent, a Republican challenger would be in a decent position to compete for the seat.
That would be the case unless the Republican running in the race is so conservative that attracting middle of the road unaffiliated voters becomes an impossible mission. Enter Laura Woods, Tuesday’s primary winner.
A staunch supporter of the Personhood ballot issue and school vouchers, Woods brings with her a bevy of conservative supporters into a race where she will need to somehow garner independent voters.
We’re a long way from November and as we all know, anything can happen. However, incumbents are very difficult to defeat, so it is not difficult to imagine Governor Hickenlooper winning a second term, and Democrats retaining the Colorado State House since they currently hold a significant majority. The Colorado State Senate is really the only thing truly in play for Colorado Republicans.
If after Election Day Democrats own as much of Colorado’s legislature as they do right now, after a mid-term election that should sway to the GOP, Democrats will know where to send their thank you notes.
Frankly, with Dudley Brown doing the work for them, Democrats may be able to save a lot of money on strategists. If Brown keeps scoring wins like the ones in Jeffco, Colorado’s state government will stay blue for some time.
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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.