Before Thanksgiving, FOX 31’s Eli Stokols profiled three Colorado Republicans who profess, or are at least rumored to be interested in statewide office in 2014–one of whom appears on our introductory 2014 Big Line, the other two do not. In none of the three cases do we see a winning prospect for the GOP, but that does, we suppose, merit a brief explanation.
Three Colorado Republicans whose names are being mentioned as possible statewide candidates in 2014 all tell FOX31 Denver that it’s way too soon to even think about mounting a campaign.
But none of those three – former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, state Sen. Greg Brophy and former Congressman Bob Beauprez – would rule out the possibility that their name might be at the top of the GOP ticket in two years.
Bob Schaffer parasails off the Northern Mariana Islands. Photo credit: CSU Library
Former Rep. Bob Schaffer’s run for the U.S. Senate in 2008 against Mark Udall almost certainly ended his viability for high elected office. In the course of Schaffer’s 2008 campaign, several incidents in his record emerged as permanent disqualifiers. The worst of these was Schaffer’s alleged assistance in the coverup of labor abuses in the Northern Mariana Islands, a place Schaffer visited as part of a junket arranged by now infamous ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Schaffer’s involvement in Abramoff’s lobbying campaign to prevent federal labor law from being applied in the Northern Mariana Islands was exposed in a devastating series of front-page stories in the Denver paper by Michael Riley. Although other items in Schaffer’s record would certainly cause problems, such as his time on the board of directors of an energy nonprofit that collapsed in allegations of defrauding the federal government, the Abramoff/Marianas scandal is the one we honestly think Schaffer cannot live down.
Failed 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is the one person in this story who does appear on the 2014 Big Line, as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall. He also has more familiar aspirations for statewide office: in 2010, Beauprez’s name briefly circulated as a potential alternative to the imploding GOP gubernatorial candidate, the laughably unqualified Dan Maes. This year, Beapurez faithfully served as the leading Colorado surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
We listed Beauprez only because of the recent work he has done to re-up his name ID after several years of relative obscurity, and the lack of the kind of career-ending scandal in his past like Schaffer’s Abramoff debacle. But as we noted in our write-up of the Line, Beauprez was perhaps the worst serious gubernatorial candidate in the state’s history–certainly the worst before Maes himself. Beauprez’s 17-point loss to Bill Ritter in 2006 was a truly disastrous end to Beauprez’s long and expensive effort, which began with a nasty (though aborted) primary challenge from Marc Holtzmann.
The fact is, now that Beauprez is not in line for a Romney administration job, we can’t rule him out of a 2014 run. We can, however, pretty safely rule him out from winning.
The inclusion of state Sen. Greg Brophy in any list of potential candidates for 2014 statewide office is one of the more humorous developments in the aftermath of the GOP’s sweeping losses in Colorado this year. For reasons that even were forced to occasionally concede, Brophy has been regarded as an intellectual heavyweight in the Colorado Senate Republican Minority. As one example, we gave Brophy props during this year’s legislative session for joining with the ACLU to abolish criminal libel in Colorado.
Unfortunately, Brophy has otherwise done everything he can to ensure the GOP stays a minority.
The biggest profile-raiser in all of Brophy’s years in the legislature came this year, after he crassly insulted Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke via Twitter over insurance coverage for birth control–in defense of radio shock-jock Rush Limbaugh’s infamous reference to Ms. Fluke as a “slut.” In doing so, Brophy gave a local face to the Democrats’ “War on Women” campaign, while Fluke began campaigning in Colorado for Barack Obama.
The result is that more Colorado voters, especially women voters, know Brophy’s name for his insults to Sandra Fluke than anything else he’s done. For a man frequently touted by Republicans as a guiding intellectual force in the Senate Minority, this was unforgivably stupid of him. The facts show once again that women voters were a major component of GOP losses in this state, and Brophy proudly played a key role in setting the scene that alienated them. In any race the GOP would ever hope to win, Brophy is not the candidate.
As a result, our friend Eli Stokols continues:
To many conservative activists, “the Bobs”, Schaffer and Beauprez atop the 2014 ticket, would amount to another GOP ticket of older, white, establishment Republicans…
[Colorado GOP chairman] Call told FOX31 Denver that the party is indeed looking at more people than those who have sought or held elected office before.
One problem the GOP has is many of their “rising stars,” like former Navy pilot Lang Sias and Colorado Springs civic patron Jennifer George, lost their elections. Continued defeats in election after election rob the Republican bench of fresh faces, and leaves the last generation of Republican candidates feebly bearing the party’s standard. As we’ve said, we don’t honestly know how Republicans are going to escape this compounding problem.
But we can tell you that these three has-beens are not the way.