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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► So, uh, how about that Tim Neville, eh?
The big political news in Colorado is the surprise announcement yesterday from Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler that he will not seek a U.S. Senate seat in 2016.
As we reported last week, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was actively pushing Brauchler’s candidacy to top Republican donors and influential politicos, and Sen. Cory Gardner was personally making introductions for Brauchler. At the same time, we also know that Brauchler had been getting a chilly response from some top GOP donors, and state Sen. Tim Neville’s full-steam-ahead Senate campaign no doubt concerned Team Brauchler as well.
Republicans are left scrambling now, trying to figure out if Neville is their guy or if they need to try to convince someone else to run as their third fourth fifth (?) choice. Meanwhile, the NRSC has added to its legacy of failure in Colorado when it comes to pushing their own candidates. Brauchler joins Gale Norton, Pete Coors, Bob Schaffer, and Jane Norton as DC-backed Senate candidates who went nowhere in Colorado.
► Congress waited until the last minute to make a deal, but at long last funding appears to be (relatively) secure to complete the Aurora VA Hospital project. From the Denver Business Journal:
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that will further fund construction of a $1.7 billion Department of Veterans Affairs medical campus in Aurora, as well as an overall spending package that will keep the federal government running until mid-December.
The VA funding bill hit a speed bump Tuesday in the form of an amendment introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller, a Republican of Florida and the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Miller’s amendment sought to take $200 million from VA bonuses to help fund the project, which needs another $625 million to be fully funded…
…But Miller backed off that amendment early Wednesday, after members of the Colorado Congressional delegation stressed the point that stopping work on the project would increase the costs even more.
It should be interesting to see how much credit Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) tries to take for this last-minute turnaround…particularly after he was taken to the woodshed earlier this week by House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller. The real credit for this effort goes to Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, who acted when Coffman and others would not.
Get even more smarter after the jump…