The wire story up this afternoon across the state: “GOP’s McInnis launches campaign for governor.” Now, those of you asking if gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis was kidding when, you thought anyway, he had already done this at least once, maybe twice–you can stop. This is what’s called in serial fiction a “reboot,” and given how his campaign has stumbled so far we can’t blame him for trying to start fresh.
Rep. Bob Gardner began his introductory speech at the Capitol today by talking about how many people “in this building” (referring to the Capitol) have endorsed McInnis. But when it came time to list names, apparently Gardner could only come up with a few Colorado Springs-area legislators: Larry Liston, Mark Waller, and of course himself. From there the list of endorsers descended into the deep ranks of county commissioners and “formers” of all levels–including former McInnis staff. Several attendees we’ve talked to found the list to be oddly underwhelming.
McInnis’ own speech, on the other hand, was fiery and combative. McInnis directly attacked Gov. Bill Ritter on a host of issues, including an apparent reversal of his previous nuanced stand on Colorado’s new oil and gas drilling regulations. Sounding like the EnCana lobbyist he was for years, McInnis should have put any concerns the Colorado Oil and Gas Association may have had about him to bed–which won’t broaden his appeal where we believe it’s most needed, but that’s where McInnis decided he needed to be.
Interestingly, McInnis’ harshest ire was directed at an issue he can use against Ritter and primary opponent Josh Penry equally: McInnis blasted Ritter for his treatment of ‘Colorado’s second largest employer,’ the U.S. Army, over Ritter’s (and Penry’s) opposition to expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. Clearly intended to curry favor with El Paso County primary voters, we’ve questioned McInnis’ support for the Army against Pinon Canyon ranchers as politically self-destructive and contrary to the views of most of the property rights-sensitive GOP base.
According to sources, the State Capitol west steps were reserved for today’s event by Rep. Gardner, who estimated 150 people would attend. Reportedly, they got around seventy, including press and Mike Huttner busily passing around “Breast Cancer Awareness Week” press releases.
Bottom line: In July, Josh Penry rolled out his campaign (everyone agrees he only did this once) in a way that grabbed headlines nationally and inspired beleaguered Republican activists around the state. Whatever its net importance to a long campaign, or what the early polls say, McInnis’ “reboot” needs to pull that momentum back in a decisive way.
What he did today will not be enough.