State of Colorado’s Republican Race for Governor: After Penry, the Deluge?

Chuck Plunkett is one of the more liberal members of the Denver Post‘s editorial board, but he’s a straight shooter. And his Friday posting on the state of Colorado’s Republican primary for governor — “Whither Tancredo?” — is full of spot-on insights, such as:

Party insiders say the problem is that the campaign [Scott] McInnis has structured to date has created a vacuum that conservatives abhor.

And:

The conservative knock against McInnis is that he has so far simply marked time; that he has never really taken up the good fight as an advocate for fiscally responsible government.

That he feels it’s simply his turn to be governor.

And:

Denver political analyst Eric Sondermann tells me that the firebrand [Tom] Tancredo would run a tougher campaign than [Josh] Penry would have.

Penry, because he is young, would know he has a potentially longer career if he plays his cards correctly. Therefore, Penry wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on any “nuclear” weapons.

But Tancredo “wouldn’t leave any cannonballs in the cannon,” Sondermann says.

And:

“Having a conversation with Josh Penry and having a conversation with Scott McInnis are two different things,” Brad Jones, a conservative radio talk-show host, tells me. “(McInnis) is not connecting with a lot of the grassroots supporters.”

And, finally:

That Penry doesn’t already know what his erstwhile opponent [McInnis] stands for is the problem bedeviling Tancredo and many others in the party.

Today Colorado Democrats — and most of all Bill Ritter — finally have some reason to smile about their prospects at keeping the Governor’s mansion in 2011 and beyond. Josh Penry may have miscalculated in his belief that getting out of the race would improve the Party’s chances to defeat Ritter.

Such a belief would have to be predicated on Scott McInnis actually shaping up, talking specifics, and showing some serious interest in fiscally conservative reform. If McInnis falters on this front, the door is wide open for a Tom Tancredo challenge. And then, it might be said of the Republican primary campaign: “Apres Penry, le deluge.”

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