Outrageous Attacks Abound in Colorado GOP U.S. Senate Primary Race

If I were to pick candidates to support in this year’s primary based on the ill behavior of political allies, I wouldn’t be able to back Jane Norton or Ken Buck to be Colorado’s next U.S. Senator.

First, it was the over-the-top attacks from Norton lieutenant Josh Penry (whom I had enthusiastically decided to endorse during his brief, abortive run for governor) against Buck.

Then yesterday I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this bizarre hit piece by Red State’s Erick Erickson on Jane Norton. Until today, most of Buck-backer Erickson’s jabs at Norton have been at least somewhat reasonable. Then he highlighted this passage from an AP story:

Not all Colorado Republicans are sold. Many fear that Buck’s too conservative to be elected statewide and that his background as a tough-on-immigrants prosecutor will turn off Latino voters in a state where more than a fifth of residents are Hispanic.

“I can actually beat Michael Bennet. There’s an electability factor,” Norton told about 30 Republicans at a McDonald’s in eastern Colorado last month. “I can reach out to Hispanics, to women, to young people.”

Erickson interprets the last line to mean that Colorado’s former lieutenant governor “wants a path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants. Since when does broadening the GOP’s appeal to Hispanics mean you are automatically a sell-out on the immigration issue? Norton’s own campaign website says:

* As your Senator, I will make securing our borders and ending illegal immigration a priority.

* I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants already in our country.

Erickson is trying way too hard to read between the lines in order to make Norton look like some member of a secret handshake, pro-amnesty cabal. Sorry, but I don’t see it as reasonable. I like candidate Ken Buck a lot. But asserting that Jane Norton looks like Charlie Crist because they both have made claims to greater electability is a stretch, to put it mildly.

I think Rossputin is onto something wondering whether Erickson has become a Colorado ankle-biter. And kudos to my fellow blogger Night Twister for valiantly trying to inject some common sense into the RedState comment threads.

Let’s be honest and admit the ongoing tit-for-tat is far less about the minute issue differences between Norton and Buck, and much more about whom the respective Republican candidates likely would back for Senate party leader once elected and serving in Washington D.C. It’s an insider’s game playing out on the public stage. And it’s dragging down the tone of the campaign.

Right now, for what it’s worth, I gladly remain neutral in this intraparty contest. My hope is that after August 10 Colorado Republicans can unite in full force behind whichever of these two conservative candidates emerges on top.

Then we can restore just a little fiscal sanity and common sense to Congress by unseating Michael Bennet and replacing him with someone who won’t be a pawn in a powerful game to impose destructive investment taxes on the U.S. economy — to mention just the latest concern. Whether you support Buck or Norton, we all should agree to focus energy on the chief target this election.

Ben DeGrow is a Contributing Author at People’s Press Collective, Your Source for Colorado Politics


  1. says

    Great post, Ben. I have run out of patience with the mutual sniping between the candidates and their failure to get much more specific on the issues. I’d also like to see them address a broader array of issues.

    I had the exact reaction you did to the leap of a conclusion Erick made about reaching out to hispanic voters. A lot of those voters are opposed to amnesty. But in the general, that overreaching and in my view, clearly unconstitutional, raid on the tax preparers office will be exploited by Democrats. 5,000 tax rerturns were seized and examined, based on concerns about one individual taxpayer.

    That was a fishing expedition of the very sort the 4th amendment was designed to prevent. If he has information about individual’s being illegal, he could merely have subpoened those records.

    Also, saying the vote of Colo. Sup. Ct. was 4-3 is misleading. The trial court which heard all the evidence ruled against Buck. A respected Weld District Court judge. Four justices, in an excellent opinion by Justice Bender, found the warrant was illegal. Two justices in dissent did not reach the issue of Buck’s overreaching, and ruled on a technicality involving the police acting in good faith. Only one justice explictly found Buck’s conduct ok.

    The “well the judge signed it” excuse, is just that. Judges these days will sign almost anything stuck in front of them, including a confession to being the real killer in the O.J. case. All branches of government have a duty to proceed constitutionally. Buck is too smart not to have known better.

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