Vic Vela of Colorado Community Media has an excellent summary of the state of play in Jefferson County legislative races, where Republicans hungry for a win in 2014 have been dealt a major setback via bungled candidate recruitment and insurgent hard-right primary wins. It's a story we've been talking about here for some months now, but as the primary winners for the Republican Party start campaigning for the general election, the problems facing Jefferson County Republicans are increasingly undeniable to even the fairest-minded of journalists:
A Senate seat win in Jeffco in November could flip party control in that chamber. String together a couple of victories in Jeffco House races and things get interesting there.
So why then, with so much on the line, have Republican candidates in Jefferson County been making news of late for all the wrong reasons?
Since June, three Jeffco Republican candidates seeking House and Senate seats have been accused of violating campaign finance disclosure laws — though the allegations at this point are unproven.
Meanwhile, another candidate in a House race has been tangled in a court battle over whether she's even going to be allowed on the November ballot — and that's after the previous Republican hopeful in that district withdrew his candidacy after his ties to white supremacism became known.
And political analysts have wondered since June whether Jefferson County primary voters were wise to pick candidates who might be too conservative to win Senate races in districts that are evenly split in party registration numbers.
Vela touches on a number of Jefferson County races where extremist candidates, unqualified candidates, and late replacement candidates trying to salvage the situation have hobbled Republicans out of the gate. There's HD-29, where Republican Robert Ramirez pulled out of the race at the last minute to be replaced by hard-right movie theater owner Susan Kochevar. In HD-23, where Republicans are still reeling from white supremacist Nate Marshall's aborted candidacy. And of course Republican Senate nominees Laura
Waters Woods and Tony Sanchez, both distantly to the right of the mainstream in their swing districts after Rocky Mountain Gun Owners' support helped them defeat more electable contenders.
Right now, the bravado from Colorado Republicans as election season approaches is perhaps at the highest level we've seen at any point since Democrats took control of the state legislature in Colorado almost ten years ago. At the same time, even GOP stalwarts like former GOP chairman Dick Wadhams have flatly stated that candidates like Woods and Sanchez cannot win in competitive Jefferson County. The victory of RMGO's favored hard-right favorites could well result in a terrible disappointment for Republicans on Election Night as winnable races slip from their grasp. And the real twist? The "momentum" claimed by Republicans in state legislative races today is in large part due to gun rights hysteria whipped up by RMGO!
Either way, folks, the GOP is dancing with the ones that brung 'em. So there's not much to pity.