Colorado is without question a key target for the GOP this year. It’s a traditionally “purple” state where Democrats captured the governorship and legislature in 2006, and then carried the state for Barack Obama in 2008. With incumbent Gov. Bill Ritter stepping down voluntarily, and with a competitive Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate between appointed Sen. Michael Bennet and former House speaker Andrew Romanoff, GOPers have definitely been seeing an opening. Polls have been showing close general election races for both the governorship and the Senate.
But somebody up there must not like Colorado Republicans, because they are in the midst of a plague-of-frogs series of misfortunes. As I noted here recently, the campaign of the front-running GOP gubernatorial candidate, Scott McInnis, imploded upon allegations that he plagiarized big chunks of a report he supposedly wrote to justify a very lucrative think-tank contract just a few years back.
As Colorado GOPers tried to figure out what to do, the wingiest nut of them all, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (last seen calling for the President’s impeachment on grounds that he is a “dedicated Marxist”) publicly demanded that the two Republicans officially in the race advance to drop out after the August 10 primary (enabling the party to name someone else), or he’d run for governor himself on the Constitution Party ticket. Presumably the answer didn’t come fast enough, and Tancredo duly announced his third-party candidacy, following that up with a public shouting match with the state Republican chairman.
But the weirdness has not been confined to the gubernatorial race. In the Senate primary, district attorney Ken Buck, a big Tea Party favorite who’s recently moved ahead of “establishment” candidate Jane Norton in the polls, got caught saying this into a live microphone:
[W]ill you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera?
Boy, what a quandry for Buck: he now has to eat a big plate of crow to avoid offending his own base, but in doing so he will appear intimidated by a Birther contingent that he obviously considers stupid. And he’s already in some hot water for earlier blurting out that he was a better candidate than Norton because “I don’t wear high heels.”
All in all, it would have been a good week for Colorado Republican officials–and their various candidates–to have taken a vacation.