Brace yourselves for my “usual thousand words”….
In his remarks, Tancredo said of Sias, “Lang will be a great conservative voice in Washington. We talked at length about every issue under the sun – particularly the economy and national security – and he proved himself to be very well-versed and knowledgeable. When you listen to him relate his military background, his experience working with small Colorado businesses and his awareness of international issues, you really get the sense this guy is running for the right reasons.”
“Not to mention,” continued Tancredo, “Lang has the right stuff to go toe to toe with Ed Perlmutter.”
A few things. First, the endorsement didn’t take note of the recent revelation of Lang Sias’ “poor” (or, as I’m hearing, non-existent) Colorado voting record. If Sias had a history of local service in conservative or Republican politics and an active Colorado voting record, Tancredo’s support might make sense in spite of similar McCain connections that he says keep him from backing Jane Norton.
Bartels asked Tancredo why Sias and not Norton:
“I see what you’re saying,” Tancredo said. “But there are differences. I really do believe that Jane’s connection to McCain is far stronger than someone who just worked on his campaign.
“And I voted for McCain, for crying out loud.”
Which if records are to be believed, even Sias didn’t do. Tancredo’s highly debatable claim may be correct for unintended reasons.
“Lang is a principled conservative, a devoted family man, a proven leader and an all-around decent human being,” said Lakey. “We’ve had the chance to get to know one another pretty well over the course of the last few months. He has a firm and well-rounded understanding of the issues important to 7th CD families,” he continued. “I’m also supporting Lang for very practical reasons. We need to put this seat back in the Republican column and Lang Sias is the only candidate in this race who can beat Ed Perlmutter in the fall.”
The only candidate “who can beat Ed Perlmutter” … Sorry, but I have to ask: What? Based on fundraising? Not by a longshot. I asked Jimmy Lakey to explain his reasoning a bit more, and he replied:
I have been very impressed with Lang’s overall organization, his growing volunteer base, his ongoing fundraising, the endorsements that are coming his way, his record of service to our nation . . . and mostly with him as an individual.
Jimmy and I agree on the last couple points. My impression of Mr. Sias is that he is an upstanding individual, and I honor his military service. But I have to confess I’m waiting for evidence that suggests he is the strongest candidate in the race.
Anyone watching the race with their eyes open can see that Frazier has many times more endorsements (Tancredo notwithstanding), his organization is larger and more effective, and his active volunteer base is way ahead of the competition (not to mention the name recognition that comes with having held elected office in Aurora). And like Sias, he gives every impression of being an upstanding individual who also served his country honorably in the military.
Perhaps the deciding factor for Lakey was that Lang Sias is “a principled conservative, a devoted family man, a proven leader and an all-around decent human being.” So I asked him if he thought those characterizations fit Ryan Frazier as well. Lakey’s response?:
I enjoyed getting to know all of the candidates in the CD7 race and wish them all well. Ryan Frazier, Mike Sheely, Michael Demming, & Lang Sias are all great Americans and I salute them for the sacrifices that they are making to run for public office. I feel the 5 of us in the race had a level of mutual respect & friendship and I honor all of these men for their willingness to run. They are all good guys.
Well, that didn’t exactly clear things up, either. Tancredo’s endorsement was more guarded than Lakey’s (maybe for having endorsed Lakey exactly one month ago and two weeks before Lakey dropped out, making him 2-for-2 in endorsing CD 7 candidates with problematic voting histories), so in some ways his statements are more defensible. But that’s only when you fail to factor in the whole McCain connection. In other words, neither of these endorsements add up.
Let me be clear: I’m all for an open primary, and any Republican obviously has the right to endorse whomever they want in the race. But it sure looks to me like there is a faction within the GOP that’s trying to rally around Lang Sias as a spoiler candidate. If they see some weakness in Frazier, or some significant point of disagreement, they should come out and say what it is.
Regardless, I hope to see all rally around the eventual Republican nominee for CD 7 to unite for our best chance to bring down Ed Perlmutter in 2010. If somehow Lang Sias ends up being the guy, so be it. I’ll support him. But I don’t see the real evidence there to suggest he is “the only candidate in this race who can beat Ed Perlmutter” (and if he has “the right stuff to go toe to toe” with Perlmutter, then Frazier by nearly all measures does even more so).
Anyway, the delegates at the May 20 Congressional Assembly will have a major say in the decision. Tancredo’s endorsement may not influence them as much as all the other factors weighing in Frazier’s favor — including the fact he is working hard to earn their support.
The timing and tone of Lakey’s announcement, combined with the inexplicable logic of Tancredo’s McCain-bending choice, tells me these are more anti-Frazier endorsements than pro-Sias endorsements. I hope I’m wrong. But if I’m right, that’s unfortunate.