Sources: Jane Norton Is In

Yes, it appears that Colorado’s former lieutenant governor won’t need the full 30 days to make up her mind. I have received word from a reliable source or two that Jane Norton is definitely going to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate. My guess is this will mean Bob Beauprez opts to stay out of a crowded phone booth field.

Initial reactions? Norton doesn’t bring Beauprez’s baggage of the disastrous 2006 campaign or firsthand experience with the fiscally profligate Republican Congress of the early-to-mid 2000s. She brings administrative experience in state government, whereas the current two frontrunners in the race Ryan Frazier and Ken Buck have experience in municipal or other local government.

Both Buck and Frazier have something on their record that Norton does not — winning elective office on their own. On the other hand, Norton ran on the coattails of a successful and popular incumbent governor Bill Owens in 2002. She served in the lieutenant governor role through the full four years of Owens’ second term, a term that saw the then-governor back Referendum C, the largest tax increase in state history.

Starting in November 2007, Jane Norton served as the state co-chair of the John McCain presidential campaign. Where does she stand on any of the major issues of the day? At this point, very little is known. But if her clearest, most recent identification is as a McCain Republican, that won’t inspire a lot of love from the base.

If my sources are correct and Norton indeed is entering the crowded U.S. Senate primary fray, she has good reason to sense an opening. The Grand Junction Sentinel has reported on a Public Policy Polling survey that shows a lot of indecisiveness early on among GOP primary voters. In some ways, this mirrors the online poll we hosted last month that showed Frazier ahead but a lot of people still undecided.

It’s too early to have any serious idea what sort of impact Norton might have on the race, but it seems likely to me that the old guard of the Colorado GOP is not going to let the prize go to an up-and-comer like Ryan Frazier or Ken Buck. And with Norton, unlike Beauprez, they largely have a blank slate.

This thing still looks wide open to me. If anything, I think Frazier benefits more than Buck from Norton entering the race. But what it all means, though, we shall see ….


  1. says

    I’ll be surprised if this convinces Beauprez to step out. Beauprez seems to be oblivious to how poorly regarded his ’06 campaign is. And since the PPP numbers showed Beauprez leading earlier this week, I’m betting he is taking that as encouragement.

  2. says

    I for one am glad to see many more who tend to lean to the consevative side of things in the race. This state has for too long been liberal. Despite what many think, Romer and Ritter are doing and did the public no favors with their catoring to the left. Look at how Denver has become a cesspool for Boulderites who still cannot see that someone may have an opinion other then theirs.

    Like her, or hate her. Norton should help voters who stradle the fence and made the mistake last november to make up for it in a little way by giving them more choices or real hope and change in 2010.

  3. Kevin B says

    Chris, I don’t want MORE conservatives in the race. In the 2004 MI-7 primary, six or seven pro-life conservatives ran, as well as one pro-abortion candidate. Nobody got more than 25% of the vote – very even. But guess who won? Joe Schwartz, who was the pro-abortion candidate.

    There are still GOP-ers who think Roe v. Wade isn’t a big deal. Not many, but when you split the conservative pro-life vote, they can get nominated.

    Schwartz went on to win in a GOP district, lost the nomination next time in 2006 in a bitter fight to Tim Walberg, who’d run in 2004. Walberg barely won the general in a very anti-Bush year, didn’t build up his base, and himself lost in 2008 to the Democrat, who didn’t win a majority, but won because a Libertarian took votes from Walberg.

    Let’s not split the vote!

  4. says

    Thanks, Kevin. To be honest, I’m not sure where Norton fits on the conservative spectrum. She has very little record and few public pronouncements on national issues. We’ll have to wait and see.

  5. Brian says

    Anyone associated with Bill Owens or Referendum C shouldn’t – and hopefully won’t – get much support from grass roots, rank-and-file Republicans. Norton looks like the state party Establishment’s choice – and another political blunder.

    We had Pete Coors – a political rookie – replace Bob Schaeffer in 2004 in the US Senate race; then Beauprez got the green light to give up a fairly safe CD-7 seat to run for Governor. Now they’re going for the stupidity trifecta – great.

    The lack of “traction” and fund-raising for Buck and Frazier’s campaigns are due to a slow economy, being a year out from the primary election… and lack of Republican party and candidate credibility. Norton shouldn’t see this as an “all clear” where she comes in and has smooth sailing to the general election.

  6. Sarge says

    I think the “old guard” from the Colorado GOP has lost a tremendous amount of credibility. By the end of Bush’s term, republicans were clamoring for a nostalgic return to the Reagan years. Norton and the Old Guard are what is wrong with the republican party. Time for new ideas and new leadership. Allard, Owens et al need to step aside. They are/were part of the problem. Norton was Colorado co-chair for McCain?!? That says it all. Out with the old and in with the new.

  7. Ron in Delta says

    I had the pleasure and I do mean pleasure of meeting Jane today in Delta. She is a true conservative and is someone who certainly has all the qualifications to represent and bring the Republican Party back to the values and direction we so desperately need. If you have the opportunity to hear her speak and ask questions, you’ll see the hope we have for the future of not just the Republican Party, but our Country.
    Thank you Jane.

  8. David Hirschi says

    I am writing in response to Jane Norton’s recent ad on the overspending of the current administration. LOL!!!
    How many repeated lies do Republicans expect the U.S. public to choke on?
    George Bush promised in 1999 during his Presidential campaign that his administration would work with a balanced budget and lower government spending,
    Did he fulfill this promise?
    HECK NO!!!
    Who did President Obama and the Democrats inherit the shoddy state of the nation that they were left with in January of 2009?
    From the Republicans.
    Trickle down is a huge LIE!!!
    Republicans have no interest in anyone other than the ultra-wealthy.
    Wake up America!!!
    Don’t fall for any more Republican lies.

  9. says

    Obama’s irresponsible fiscal policy is the Bush administration on steroids. Just because the predecessor has a bad policy doesn’t justify making it even worse. That’s not “Change.” And eventually, Obama will have to own responsibility for the consequences of his policies.

    You’re welcome back if you want to have an intelligent conversation. But first, you have to stop drinking the MSNBC / Daily Kos Kool-Aid.


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