(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Of the Federal Office primaries in Colorado coming up in June, the primary of most significance is the one to be held in the 4th Congressional District. Whoever the Republicans select will be a prohibitive favorite to become elected.
There are four candidates who are running, Ken Buck, Barbara Kirkmeyer, Steve Laffey and Scott Renfroe. Buck has the best name recognition. Steve Laffey has the least name recognition. Renfroe claimed the top spot on the ballot at the Republican convention and is supported by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners which had a significant presence (Dudley Brown and his delegates) at the Convention. Kirkmeyer and Laffey went the petition route.
Going into the race one might have concluded that Renfroe, coming off his convention win and with the backing of the RMGO would have some kind of momentum. The favorability of the RMGO and Dudley Brown given their recent behavior may be on the decline among many Republicans, who seem to be steering a more pragmatic course in 2014, but they are still a force to be reckoned with.
That has not turned out to be the case.
Interestingly, it has not been because of some wacky statement he made (think “recess leads to the feminization of our boys”), it has been because of his sponsoring a bill which would allow oil and gas companies to use eminent domain to take private property. If there is one issue that trumps gun rights in rural Colorado, it is property rights.
Scott Renfroe, a former State Senator, was the only Republican sponsor of a bill that would allow private Oil and Gas companies to take property from individual property owners using eminent domain. The bill failed to make it through the Democratic controlled legislature. The other sponsors of the bill were all Democrats from non-rural districts, Cheri Jahn, Mary Hodge and Lois Tochtrop.
This touches on the quintessential issue of the relationship of the state to its citizen and their property.
Republican Party orthodoxy is to limit the power of the state, not to outsource it to oil and gas companies.
How is a rural Republican going to believe that Renfroe will protect their gun rights or fight for the little guy from rural Colorado back in DC when he won’t stick up for them in Denver?
For evidence that this issue has taken on a life of its own, here is the endorsement of Ken Buck by the RMGO supported candidate for Governor, Greg Brophy:
"I am voting for Ken Buck for Congress in the 4th District. I've known Ken for years, and he is the conservative fighter that we need in Congress. Ken will always protect our property rights, and will be a strong advocate for Colorado’s rural communities. I hope you join me in voting for Ken Buck for Congress." (emphasis supplied).
It seems even if you want to convince rural Colorado voters you are on the far right on personhood (life begins before conception) or gun rights (everyone should be required to carry one), to be credible you need to at least stand up to the oil and gas lobbyists when they want to use the power of the state to take a farmer’s property in Colorado.