View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Curiouser and Curiouser 

Well, at least we know who the Democratic candidate will be. Salazar scared off Rep. Udall, who's back to running for re-election to his House seat. Rutt Bridges, probably the most interesting candidate, a center-leftist who founded the Bighorn Center, and his millions, also dropped out. Bridges had been persuaded to run by Salazar himself, which isn't exactly Al Gore endorsing Howard Dean over Joe Lieberman but still must sting a little. This saves Salazar a primary battle, which puts more pressure on the Republicans to unite behind a candidate, if only for the sake of statewide party finances.

Whom will that be? (Aside: AP writers use words for a living. Will somebody please send a memo around pointing out where in the style guide it says "none" is plural? "None" is singular.) Right now it looks like it'll come from the House or the ex-House. Tancredo, Beauprez, McInnis, or Schaffer. Too mean, too new, too tired, too old. Now, not necessarily, although I'll have to defer on Schaffer until I see more of him. It reminds me of what they said about Al Oerter. Too young, then too sick, then too hurt, then too old. He won four consecutive discus golds, so anything's possible.

Tom Tancredo is not a mean man. But he comes across that way, and his tough immigration stand makes it easy to paint him that way. He doesn't really understand compromise, and frankly, I don't think he'd be that effective as a Senator. Bob Beauprez is a sharp farmer and businessman, but he's still getting his political sea legs. Plus the party wants an incumbent in a 121-vote-margin district. They'll owe him, and if he wants Allard's seat in four years, maybe he gets that. McInnis. I just don't see how a guy can say he's tired of Washington, and then turn around and get jazzed up by a shot to move up the greasy pole. How do you answer the question, "why do you want to be Senator?" without sounding like a rank opportunist? Schaffer looks the part, was popular among his colleagues. Right now, my money's on him for the nomination, if he wants it, but I have no idea how he'd do in a statewide race. Ben?

UPDATE: At the Halevi speech, I ran into Dan Kopelman, who really knows Republican politics in the state. He insists that the state party is powerless to stop Beauprez if he wants to run, and that Tancredo can hold Salazar to a draw in the parts of the state Salazar has to win big in order to carry the day, especially Pueblo. Dan seems to think that the established hispanics in the south of the state resent the illegals as much as the Anglos do. But Salazar is hispanic himself, which carries a fair amount of weight. I'm not convinced, but it's only March, and the primary is in August. Time will tell.

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