In Colorado, there is a Governor's race primary and contested primaries in the First, Third, Fourth and Fifth Congressional Districts. For the Senate, the slate had been cleared for Cory Gardner to run against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall. Without Gardner, whom the Democrats most feared as an opponent because he is an excellent campaigner, this was easy reelection for Udall. Now, not so much although time will tell.
For Governor to take on John Hicklenhooper there are four GOP candidates and all have some political experience and gravitas. There is ex-congressmen Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo along with current state secretary of state Scott Gessler and ex-minority leader in the state senate Mike Kopp. There is no runoff in this state. In terms of name recognition, both Tancredo and Beauprez have the obvious advantage with Gessler coming in third. Kopp is the dark horse here, or the potential king maker. Most polls show Tancredo winning this primary, although Beaupez is close. In terms of general election polling, either Beauprez or any other candidate trails Hicklenhooper. Surprisingly, Gessler and Kopp trail by less points than Beauprez or Tancredo.
One has to assume that unless Beauprez and Tancredo so split the vote that the other two sneak in there as the candidate in November, the better choice between the two front-runners- although fraught with potential minefields- would be Tom Tancredo. He has the backing of several conservative groups (at least he did when he was a congressman) while Beauprez has drawn the support of people like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Tancredo can be a kind of loose cannon at times which is almost the the opposite of the more boring John Hicklenhooper. This election may be decided at the fringes on issues like gun control and Hicklenhooper's attempted reach in this area. It is certainly a wedge issue in the state. But, there is another factor to consider.
There is currently only one ballot question in November and one to surely motivate the base of both parties- one that would recognize the unborn as a person. There is the possibility of another ballot question being presented- a repeal of all of the 2013 gun control measures passed. Both questions, or at least one, will definitely motivate conservatives to vote. That is why the more conservative of the candidates- Tom Tancredo- stands the greater chance in November and why this writer would support him.
In the First District, whoever emerges from the GOP primary will not endear themselves to conservatives, nor will they win. Democrat Diana DeGette represents a fairly reliable Democratic district. Kathleen Rosewater Cunningham is a frequent candidate...and loser. Her opponent in the primary will be Martin Walsh. These are throw-in candidates with little chance in November. At least Walsh is on record to repeal Obamacare, so let's just go with him.
In the Third, Republican incumbent Scott Tipton faces David Cox, a libertarian activist, in the Republican primary. Abel Tapia, a former state legislator with some name recognition, will be the opposition in November. Tipton is sufficiently conservative in enough areas while Cox's positions are question marks in many areas, particularly climate change legislation, abortion, and education reform. This is a nominally GOP district- not one to play around with by running a relative unknown against a relatively known Democratic opponent just because a Tipton vote here or there may upset the conservative idealist apple cart. Therefore, the nod goes to Scott Tipton.
With Cory Gardner running for the Senate, the relatively safe Fourth District is an open race. Given the dearth of Democratic talent here, it is likely to remain in Republican hands. This district probably has more in common with the Plains states than they do with some of the more liberal populated areas of the state. It is telling that both Democrats vying for this seat fail to mention health care reform or Obamacare on their websites.
To this writer, the choice for the GOP comes down to two candidates: state senator Scott Renfro or former US Senate candidate Ken Buck. Buck, in fact, originally was a candidate for the Senate this year until Gardner came on the scene. When Buck ran against and lost to Bennett in 2010, he surprised the political pundits by defeating Jane Norton for the GOP nod who supposedly had an insurmountable lead at the time. Although portrayed as a Tea Party candidate at the time, he made some statements critical of that group. He went on to lose to Bennett and was portrayed as a loose cannon along the way. He additionally was critical at times of Tom Tancredo. Buck announced his intentions to run against Udall but withdrew when Gardner came along and Buck then decided to run for Gardner's seat in the House.
To this writer, this was the better decision. Although in 2010 I had no problems with Buck's agenda, the jump from county prosecutor to US Senate seemed like a large leap. Going from county prosecutor to a House seat is more realistic. With the race more local, Buck's chances of winning are greater. Ideologically, there is little difference between Renfro and Buck. Renfro does, however, have legislative experience while Buck does not. That in itself should not be a drawback. Although I support Ken Buck in this district, should Renfro win the primary, one should not be upset.
Finally, in the 5th District- considered the most conservative in the state- Republican incumbent Doug Lamborn will face Bentley Rayburn in the primary. He has twice run against Lamborn in the primary and twice finished third, although getting a decent percentage along the way. Thus, there is some traction although his last primary run was in 2008. Even still, Lamborn is a proven entity who has, in a general election, never garnered less than 60% of the vote. There is little reason to shift courses here and the nod goes to Doug Lamborn.
There are no more primaries until August. As an aside I truly appreciate comments, especially from folks here in the states or districts analyzed. Although I try to use media outlets in these states and districts for information, hearing from legitimate conservative readers of Redstate is, in itself, an educational source also.
Don't forget runoff primaries in July and CHRIS McDANIEL in Mississippi this Tuesday.