Bob Beauprez Backs Lang Sias, Raises Questions about Relevance, Judgment

In one of Colorado’s most head-scratching political moves of the year, former GOP Congressman and wildly unsuccessful 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez announced his endorsement of 7th Congressional candidate and Republican newcomer Lang Sias. The first reaction I and many of my politically aware friends had pretty much boiled down to: Huh???

When Tom Tancredo and Jimmy Lakey threw their support behind Sias, they carefully avoided trying to draw distinctions among the Republican field. Not so Beauprez:

When the primary race began, it was my intention to remain neutral. But after long and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the stakes are so high and the distinction among candidates so pronounced, that it is time for me to express my opinion….

Over the last several months, I have watched Lang gain momentum while running an efficient and frugal campaign. I have also learned a great deal about his character and integrity, his conservative values, his intelligence and his impressive background.

Congress is full of overly self-impressed, unprincipled people obsessed with the title and trappings of the office. Lang has already achieved more than enough titles, promotions, and awards. He’s a grown-up. He knows who he is and what he believes in. He actually wants to go to Congress to serve us — not himself. [emphases added]

The letter all but explicitly belittles established frontrunner Ryan Frazier for a lack of experience and maturity, but it comes across more as a leading figure of the Colorado GOP’s stodgy Old Guard missing the boat on the enthusiasm and energy behind the fiscally conservative, pro-liberty “New Way Forward” embodied in Frazier’s campaign. On the other hand, one might make a retort to Beauprez’s insinuation by stating that a grown-up exercises his right to vote in major elections.

But I digress. Beauprez wrote: “I have watched Lang gain momentum while running an efficient and frugal campaign.” Code for what? Maybe a candidate whose fundraising evidences almost no base of local support, a candidate who brings in more than twice the cash from D.C. than from the Denver area.

A far cry from Ryan Frazier — another conservative Republican candidate who not only has raised more than five times as much money from the Denver area as Sias has raised total but also has outraised the incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter. On all counts of grassroots support, Frazier has the competition licked. What about effectively using his candidacy to make strong and pointed policy distinctions with Perlmutter on the issues of the day? That’s Frazier again.

Given the challenging demographics of the 7th Congressional District and the clear evidence before us in the primary, one might ask if Beauprez really wants to beat Perlmutter. I have no particular reason to doubt his motives, but (like Tancredo’s) another explanation for a Sias endorsement in the face of overwhelming facts leaves plenty of questions unanswered. Maybe there are concerns that Frazier won’t re-enact the Big Spending days of the Bush-era Republican Congress? Your guess is as good as mine.

Frankly, I’m baffled. But in the greater scheme of far more key endorsements behind Ryan Frazier, I think the respective decisions of those jumping on the Sias bandwagon says less about the state of the primary campaign than it does about their own political relevance. In nine days Republican delegates and alternates — including myself — will gather for the 7th Congressional Assembly. Keep your eyes on that result.

I’ll leave the last word directly to the Frazier campaign, which today sent out a press release announcing current 6th District GOP Congressman Mike Coffman’s official endorsement:

Coffman joins a long list of Frazier endorsers who have never lost an election in this state, including State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, and former Governor Bill Owens.

I still respect Congressman Beauprez, but less so for his judgment. I believe his latest decision is a continuation of the mistakes that so greatly harmed his chances of winning the governor’s chair four years ago. Ryan Frazier represents conservatives’ and Republicans’ best chance to unseat liberal Ed Perlmutter this year, and maybe for many election cycles to come.

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