Erick Erickson: Lean Not on “Beltway Wisdom” in GOP Senate Primary

For having an outside perspective, Red State editor Erick Erickson makes one of the most insightful observations about Colorado’s Republican Senate primary:

Why exactly must we support Jane Norton in Colorado instead of Ken Buck? I’m not saying I am or am not, but why must I? Lots of people think we must because the same guys in Washington who said Charlie Crist was our best hope in Florida say she is in Colorado….

…Ken Buck has a very real shot and Norton is about to suffer some very serious high dollar blows about her support for suspending TABOR a while back. We need not go with the inside the beltway wisdom just because the beltway wisdom wants us to go with Norton. We should watch, study, observe, and see where things are heading before going with either Buck or Norton.

Could hardly have stated it better myself.

With posts like the recent one I wrote highlighting Ken Buck’s momentum in head-to-head matchups with Michael Bennet, I have been pegged as a Buck sympathizer. Not so. I am nowhere close to choosing a candidate to back in the primary. Norton’s campaign has received most of the pomp and national establishment backing. From time to time I may take the opportunity to add a little balance to the coverage.

Like Erick, I firmly believe the pro-liberty grassroots and bloggers “should watch, study, observe, and see where things are heading before going with either Buck or Norton.” At least that’s where I am these days.


  1. says

    Good points, but the money primary counts, and Norton’s winning that right now. The January numbers will be critical. If Norton continues to outraise Buck and Wiens big time, she’ll be unstoppable in the primaries. Momentum counts with voters, if not with activists.

    From what the campaigns tell me, Norton is staffed to organize for the caucuses. Buck has a number of people working hard for him, paid and volunteer. My sense is that he isn’t as organized in the counties as Norton, even though he has representatives in every county. Could be wrong.

    The question is whether Norton actually is training and recruiting people to help her win in the caucuses and assemblies. We don’t know that, yet. A lot of her county leaders more like endorsers than worker bees. Time will tell. Buck could benefit from Tea Party folks. He’s not as appealing as a candidate as Norton is, especially to women, but his wife is a dynamo. So it may balance out. Also, I don’t think Buck is up on the national issues as Norton is, and it may be hard for him to get beyond the generalities. He does have a demanding job.

    So the question for the Tea Party candidates is, how can they do better than Ross Perot did when they don’t have millions to throw into their campaigns?

    How can they avoid flaming out the way Barry Goldwater and Perot did?

    How can they avoid having Norton and McInnis convincingly take over their issues? Norton’s already taken over Wiens’ favorite issue, single-topic bills. She mentions it every time she speaks, and she seems to be getting before more audiences than Wiens. She has an old pro as a campaign manager, and that will count for something.

    On the issues, these candidates are on the same pages on almost all issues. They all have said a few dumb things and some smart things. It’s a personality and fundraising contest. Will the candidates that appeal to political junkies and single issue voters also be able to win the more detached voters?

    Too bad Rasmussen didn’t poll the primary candidates against each other directly.

  2. says

    On Ref. C, which I opposed, I think that anyone who tries to use that against Norton will be wasting time and money. People don’t and won’t care. Norton can shoot the issue down in a minute if she has too.
    I know I’ll blog against anyone who uses such a phony issue because it will show that they have nothing else to use against her.

    Fight over real issues. These folks are running for the U.S. Senate, not the General Assembly.

  3. says

    Final point. Isn’t Beltway Wisdom reflecting Colorado wisdom? What we’re seeing on the ground here is pretty much reflected in Colorado Wisdom and therefore Beltway Wisdom.

    I don’t have a candidate in this race. I just want to beat Bennet and reduce Obama’s power in Congress. Whoever can do the job, I’m for regardless of how much I agree with them on some issues. The primaries are showing us the candidates strengths and weaknesses as fundraisers, campaigners and debaters. We’re seeing that they’re all smart and talented in their own ways. They all have the experience that would serve them well in Washington.

    Because they’re so evenly matched, we’re probably going to see some nasty stuff, and negative sells in politics. As a blogger, I’ll try to not be sucked in by the negative stuff, but I want to see all the dirt, because it helps people pick candidates. They’ll go after Norton on C. They’ll go after Buck on his prosecution of illegals. He has a long record that’s probably ripe for the picking. The’ll go after Wiens for his business dealings, which the left already is bashing big time.

    He who throws the first stone may get a bloody nose.

  4. AStewart says

    There is no momentum — people have now gotten to know Ken Buck, that is his only poll change, and even after that they are still supporting Jane Norton by almost a two-to-one advantage over Buck. Buck has hit his high water mark. Fundraising numbers will probably show it too. The fact of the matter is that Norton is a conservative — unless you have a different definition than the rest of Colorado. I know it may be hard, but read her issues in black and white on her website. I challenge you to do that and to actually approve this post to your “story.”

  5. Dan Hooker says

    As far as Amendment ‘C’ is concerned, ask Dale Hall, former candidate for state senate from Loveland. That issue alone bounced him onto the street and elected Renfroe. With todays financial issues in Colorado and the burden the taxpayers are facing both in Colorado and nationally, do not expect this potential delegate to support proponents of that amendment both past and present. RINOs are on my watch list too.

  6. Colorado GOPer says

    I won’t be shy I am already supporting Ken Buck. The issue is a track record. Ken Buck has a track record and Jane Norton does not. The only thing I know about her is that her funding comes from Washington lobbyists. Washington lobbyists and old horses like McCain are not the type of endorsements I look for to determine what is good for Colorado.

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