The Colorado Statesman's Ernest Luning follows up in the latest issue last week's big story of endorsements rolling in for Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Bob Beauprez. With Beauprez calling in his many chits, Tom Tancredo standing firm on his built-in base of single issue support, and Mike Kopp fading quickly into irrelevance, Secretary of State Scott Gessler is battling to keep this a three-way race:
Calling Beauprez “a good friend of mine,” Gessler noted that he’s worked for Beauprez’ past campaigns in his capacity as an election-law attorney. (Beauprez represented the 7th Congressional District for two terms before giving up his seat in Congress to run for governor in 2006, when he lost to Democrat Bill Ritter by a wide margin.)
“Bob lost his last bid for Governor by 16 points, even though we won other big races that year,” Gessler wrote in his fundraising email. “That means 16 percent of voters deliberately voted against Bob then voted for every other Republican. We can’t risk that happening again, and especially with the Senate seat up for grabs this cycle that’s not a risk we can afford to take.”
…On Thursday, Gessler widened his attack, calling out both Beauprez and Tancredo for losing in the last two gubernatorial elections.
“Should we go with Bob Beauprez — an establishment politician with a track record of losing big races?” Gessler wrote in an email to supporters. “While he was chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, the GOP lost control of the State Senate for the first time in four decades. Then, in 2006, Beauprez lost the governor’s race by nearly 17 points, one of the worse performances by a statewide GOP candidate in the history of the state!”
“That is until 2010…” Gessler continued. “In 2010, Tom Tancredo cost us the governorship and a U.S. Senate seat. He dropped the ‘R’ next to his name and ran as a third party candidate. After he lost, he re-registered as a Republican. How can we trust a guy like that to lead our state, let alone, our party?”
Gessler has his own very serious baggage, of course, from his fruitless years-long quest for "illegal voters" to last year's Independent Ethics Commission finding that Gessler "breached the public trust for private gain" by using taxpayer funds to offset partisan political travel expenses. The ad fodder Gessler has provided his political opponents since election in 2010 has been truly enormous, even career-ending all by itself–but is Gessler correct that Beauprez's and Tancredo's flaws are worse?
After the nonstop roller-coaster of controversy Gessler has put voters through in the last four years, it's tough to imagine him as the most electable of any field of candidates. But maybe it's time we started grading this race on the curve? A poll follows.