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Jane Norton and Ken Buck: High Heels vs. Cowboy Boots in Colorado

4 years ago
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DENVER -- Let us take a brief break from the racism debate and talk about high heels.

And sexism.

We'll start with a one-liner:

What's the difference between the two GOP Senate candidates in Colorado?

High heels, according to the man in the race, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. He's running against former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the Aug 10 primary. Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet faces former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff on the Democratic side, but they're not arguing about footwear. Yet.

Ken Buck, Jane NortonSaturday, Buck made a stop at the annual Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms event held by the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank. The event involves what its name implies -- drinking booze, smoking cigars and shooting guns out on the Colorado plains. It's for sure no formal affair, but it's for sure a gathering of conservatives.

So Buck stopped by. And as always these days, so did folks with video cameras, in this instance filming for the People's Press Collective, a conservative citizen journalism site. Buck told the crowd he wouldn't offer his stump speech, but would just take questions.

The first one came from a woman, who asked, "Why should we vote for you?"

"Because I do not wear high heels," replied Buck to guffaws and groans in the background. "She has questioned my manhood, and I think it's fair to respond. I have cowboy boots, they have real bullshit on them. And that's Weld County bullshit, not Washington, D.C., bullshit." (Click play below for video.)

Maybe Buck didn't get the memo about this being the year of the woman?

Many -- including Norton's spokeswoman -- are comparing this to George Allen's "macaca" remark aimed at a tracker for an opponent's campaign in Virginia's U.S. Senate race four years ago.

"Ken is going to have to use all of his best lawyer-speak to explain this really stupid statement," said Norton spokeswoman Cinamon Watson in an e-mail. "He may say it's no big deal, but just ask . . . George Allen what a comment like this can do to a statewide race."

Allen's cratered campaign was run by Dick Wadhams, now the Colorado GOP chairman, who's got plenty of problems in the governor's race and doesn't need a footwear debate, let alone a battle of the sexes on the Senate front.

It's true that Jane Norton said in a recent ad, noting attack ads paid for by outside groups, "You'd think Ken'd be man enough to do it himself." Click play below to watch the ad:

But Buck might also want to check out recent attempts to attack South Carolina's Nikki Haley and Georgia's Karen Handel, each of whom is seeking to be governor of her state.

Both Republicans received endorsements from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Haley won in a runoff despite accusations of adultery. Handel garnered the most votes in Tuesday's primary but faces a runoff with Nathan Deal, who recently cited "real women" who supported him.

Norton is widely considered the party insiders' candidate, while Tea Party people favor Buck, who's pulled ahead of Norton in some polls.

Late Wednesday, Buck's campaign issued a release calling the high-heel issue "another desperate smear" by Norton.

And they cited an interview Norton did last week with the Independence Institute's Jon Caldara. According to the Buck news release, "Caldera asked Norton, 'What is the crucial difference between the DA from Weld County, Ken Buck, and the former lieutenant governor?' Jane responded, 'Well, I'm a girl first.' Caldera asked, 'Is being a girl important in this race?' Norton replied, 'No, it isn't. I was trying to be funny, but it didn't go well.' "

No, none of it's going well. Buck better hope the ultimate "mama grizzly," Sarah Palin, doesn't step in to defend her sister. Because we've seen how that goes in South Carolina and Georgia.

There are plenty of reasons for mud-slinging out there -- administrative budgets, abortion, heavy-hitting supporters.

But, people, when it comes to high heels vs. cowboy boots, please don't play this game.

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