UPDATE 5:30PM: Multiple sources now confirming Scott Renfroe will indeed challenge Ken Buck for the CD-4 GOP nomination.
UPDATE: Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post Tweets that state Rep. Tim Dore may also consider a run for CD-4 against Ken Buck. And from Lynn Bartels:
Other names in CD4: Weld Co Comm. Sean Conway, gov of Area 51; colleague Barbara Kirkmeyer and more. WOW. #copolitics
— Lynn Bartels (@lynn_bartels) February 27, 2014
Bartels also drops the name of state Rep. Clarice Navarro, though we have no confirmation she might be interested in running. Regardless, we have to think this immediate explosion of interest in running against Buck in CD-4 wasn't part of the deal Buck made with Cory Gardner to exit the Senate race…
Ken Buck, who’d been Stephens’s main rival for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, announced Tuesday that he’d be dropping his bid to unseat Udall and running instead for Gardner’s soon-to-be-vacant House seat.
He may have some company on the Republican side.
State Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, has been reaching out to supporters to gauge whether or not he should challenge Buck in the 4th Congressional District race.
“It’s an honor people have called me and asked me to consider this,” said Renfroe, who’s term-limited at the legislature. “My wife and I are praying about it and it’d be quite an honor to represent the 4th. It’d be quite an honor to serve.”
On face value, we'd consider Ken Buck the frontrunner in the new CD-4 race over any potential GOP challenger. The only qualifier to that is the fact that Buck did lose his last federal election, and has substantial baggage from that race–which may well motivate Democrats to make a much stronger run for this R+11 seat than they would if Cory Gardner wasn't running for Senate now. And that, in turn, could motivate other ambitious Republicans to offer themselves up as alternatives to Buck. Term-limited Sen. Scott Renfroe isn't what we'd call an intellectual powerhouse, but he does have support and name recognition in and around Greeley–much of it connected to his father's well-established construction firm.
It's possible that, if the opinion that Buck isn't inevitable after striking a backroom deal with Gardner to switch races takes hold, there could be other Republicans stepping up as well. There is a scenario here where Buck comes to dearly regret making this bargain, and that could become reality very soon.