Colorado Democrats Delighted By GOP Primary Results

A quick tour of coverage of yesterday’s primary elections, starting with the Fort Collins Coloradoan’s Patrick Malone, and the loss of the CD-2 primary by moderate Eric Weissmann to iconic “Tea Party” favorite state Sen. Kevin Lundberg–a loss despite overt support for Weissmann from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Weissmann trumpets a libertarian perspective that favored civil unions and abortion rights, while Lundberg adheres to more traditional, socially conservative ideals as an outspoken defender of traditional marriage between a man and a woman and opponent of legal abortion…

Lundberg’s victory and a handful of Republican primaries for seats in the state legislature that could be interpreted as an indication of where Colorado’s GOP voters stand sent a resounding message in favor of traditional conservative ideals. [Pols emphasis]

You can find evidence for a hard lurch to the right in Republican primary results around the state. In SD-23, the race to replace Sen. Shawn Mitchell was won by a distinctly fringy candidate named Vicki Marble, known by some locals as the “New Dan Maes–over an arguably much more experienced and qualified public servant, Rep. Glenn Vaad. In HD-19, Amy Stephens crushed an upstart bid from fellow Rep. Marsha Looper, reaffirming her conservative credentials by helping kill civil unions legislation again this year. After becoming vulnerable in the wake of her support for the health care exchange bill in 2011, Stephens bet her political career on stopping civil unions. She was amply repaid with support from her friends at Focus on the Family, even as her actions do political damage elsewhere.

And from one of the most-watched primaries in the state this year, the Craig Daily Press reports:

[Rep. Randy] Baumgardner easily defeated incumbent state Sen. Jean White, of Hayden, on Tuesday night in what proved to be one of Colorado’s more heated Republican primary elections this cycle…

Baumgardner said he plans to move past a recent story published by multiple news outlets, including national outlets and the Steamboat Today, that a sex offender was living at his home in Hot Sulphur Springs. FOX 31 Denver originally reported that the sex offender was unregistered but later clarified he registered in April.

“I think that’s a nonissue,” Baumgardner said about the story. “We’re going to move forward.”

…White said she was disappointed when she and about 30 supporters watched the results trickle in from the HiWay Bar in Hayden.

“I was disappointed that his lies trumped my truths,” she said about Baumgardner after she conceded the race. “I’m proud of my campaign. I can stand proud. I stood on my principles. I worked hard. I ran a clean campaign. And unfortunately, the lies won.”

The ugly fight between Rep. Randy Baumgardner and Sen. Jean White, primarily driven by Sen. White’s vote for civil unions legislation, is a metaphor for everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party in Colorado today. Sen. White’s vote for civil unions reflected the overwhelming public support the issue now enjoys among Colorado voters–including many Republicans. Rep. Baumgardner, on the other hand, helped filibuster the civil unions bill at the end of this year’s session. Democrats have already told reporters that they plan to invest more resources in the SD-8 race this fall than they ever would have if Sen. White had won.

In just about all of these cases, Republicans made choices that could do more harm than good in the long run. Even if some of these candidates, like Vicki Marble, win in November, they could emerge as boat-anchor embarrassments to their caucus when the legislature convenes in January. Some safe districts could become pickups, like SD-8. In the case of CD-2, Republicans never really thought they could beat incumbent Rep. Jared Polis, but the moderate Weissmann might have forced Polis to pay attention to his own re-election over helping others. Thanks to Lundberg, the CD-2 race is now an asset to Democrats for branding Republicans as crazy.

Bottom line: Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call has talked a great deal about the need for his party to field reasonable candidates with intelligent viewpoints–on immigration as one example. Other top Republicans like Mario Nicolais have warned their colleagues that long-term minority status awaits the GOP if they are unable to break out of their wedge-issue boxes.

Better luck in 2014, we guess.

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    as the results were coming in. I am beyond THRILLED that Lundberg won. I only wish he would resign from his State Senate seat to run full time against Polis. That would be the honorable thing to do, no? Run, Kevin, run. I beg you.

    As for White, I guess supporting gays marrying is far more offensive to Republicans than having a registered sex offender for a roommate.

    Really, come to think of it, my sentence sort of sums up a good chunk of the philosophy on the Right these days in a nutshell.  

  2. Car 31 says:

    It is difficult to see any of these candidates as anything other than cookie cutter conservatives using cookie cutter policy points.

    If that is what it means to be a Republican in Colorado, than they better be prepared to hand over the House in November (if not this year, next for sure).

    Vaad’s race surprised me. Baumgardner’s win depresses me. On the county level statewide, experienced commissioners were thrown out in favor of far right candidates.

    Although, Buffie McFadyen is getting back into the groove in Pueblo and Wes McKinley is out for good in Las Animas – so it isn’t all bad…

  3. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    If “jobs” were really the GOP’s #1 issue, then why do they continue to nominate social issue warriors with little or no interest in economics?

    My concern is that whatever the brain-eating disease currently sweeping through the GOP becomes pandemic, and they don’t become the permanent minority party.

  4. SSG_Dan says:

    I used to respect Rep Looper. I’ve been lucky enough to work with her on a number of issues like the Vet Court bill, and she seemed to be one of the few Repubs in the Legislature that was true to her party without being a freak.

    That all changed when she had to run against Rep Stephens. She bailed on the Vet Lottery scratcher after very publicly rolling out the whole thing. And she was invisible on the issue the whole time it was being tossed around the bldg.

    Then she starting running towards right-wing Nutjobland as fast as she could once the actual campaign season started. I realize part of this was the even nuttier campaigning of the Combat Dentist Teabagger, but the ethical scorched earth campaign she waged to try and win the nomination seems to have it’s just reward….she’s out of a job and probably out of Colorado Politics.

    Now that it’s all over, I really don’t even think I want to talk to her ever again.

    Sucks.  

  5. sxp151 says:

    let’s check back on how our prognosticators did. Here’s the first one that comes to my mind.

    http://www.coloradopols.com/sh

    • Middle of the Road says:

      here’s the 2nd one that comes to mind.

      Senate District 8

      GOP Rep. Randy Baumgardner vs incumbent GOP Sen. Jean White

      to take on Dem. Emily Tracy

      The first important thin to know about this race is that neither of the candidates has been elected to the seat before. Jean White was appointed to fill her husband’s seat when he resigned to work for Gov. Hickenlooper. The second is that this Senate district is dominated by Republicans, but motivated by moderates. Jean White was rated one of the most liberal members of the GOP caucus and voted with the Dems in favor of Civil Unions. She is also mopping the floor with Rep. Baumgardner in terms of fundraising. She’s raised $55k to his $21. This is a prime example of one of the few places where being a frothing-at-the-mouth, red-meat conservative doesn’t actually work for a GOP primary.

      Correction: This paragraph was corrected to remove an inaccurate description of the geography of the distict.

      Bottom Line: Expect White to win her first election and return to the Senate for a full term.

      Or another way to look at this, everybody makes predictions and usually gets something wrong. Welcome to being human.  

      • sxp151 says:

        but it’s more fun to point out a mistake when someone is so certain and harsh about it.

        Vicki Marble is going to win because she’s tied in fundraising and her website is better? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. You think the likely voter in a Republican State Senate district primary is checking websites and social media for campaign updates? I would bet the average voter in that race is probably 70. Turnout has been awful everywhere except for El Paso County, so I would be shocked if a virtually unknown candidate like Marble wins. If she does, it won’t be because her website is pretty, it will be because she out-conservatived Vaad.

        If Marble wins, it will be a huge upset, and it’s highly unlikely she does. Vaad isn’t particularly well known outside Weld, but he’s been attached at the hip to Shawn Mitchell for about a year now, and that is a very good thing in that district.

        • Middle of the Road says:

          I’m with you now. I missed the part where we were actually having fun.

          Meanwhile, I’m watching lightening strikes in the northern sky and freaking out. I’m hoping you and yours are safe, sxp and not in the way of the fire down there.  

  6. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    Let me rephrase that…

  7. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    As that “new Dan Maes” website points out, it’s interesting that Ms. Marble, as the conservative pro-family icon that she claims to be, actually went so far as to trademark the name “Lesbian Lager.”

    http://www.trademarkia.com/les

    Was she thinking: “I’d never let ‘em marry, but I’d love to con ‘em into drinking my shitty beer.”

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