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Colorado GOP Takes Flyers on Tea Party, Buck; Dems Stick With Bennet

5 years ago
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Democrats came off in Tuesday night's primaries as the staid party, not overly eager to rebel against the establishment. Republicans, meanwhile, continued their propensity to take flyers.
In Colorado, Sen. Michael Bennet struck a blow for establishment candidates on the line this year by surviving a stiff Democratic primary challenge from former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ran unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. And in Connecticut, attorney general Richard Blumenthal ran unopposed for the Democratic Senate nomination.

But on the Republican side, Tea Party candidate Ken Buck zoomed past former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton to win the GOP Senate nomination in Colorado. Businessman Dan Maes, another Tea Pary favorite, narrowly defeated former congressman Scott McInnis to be the GOP's nominee for Colorado governor. In Connecticut, wrestling magnate Linda McMahon cruised to the GOP Senate nomination.

In the closely watched Colorado Senate race, Romanoff, who has been active in politics for nearly 20 years, positioned himself as an insurgent and challenged Bennet from the left. He appealed to the liberal netroots and local party activists, thumbed his nose at the White House and the Democratic National Committee, and sold his own home to help finance his campaign.

Gov. Bill Ritter named Bennet to the Senate seat that opened up when Sen. Ken Salazar joined President Barack Obama's cabinet as Interior secretary. Bennet, a former financier and Denver schools superintendent, not only overcame Romanoff's determined challenge, he prevailed despite a recent front-page New York Times story that questioned a major financial decision that Bennet made regarding the Denver Public Schools pension fund.

Bennet's victory was also a proxy win for Obama, whose picks have not always fared so well since he's been president. Bennet was an early Obama supporter in the 2008 presidential race. Former president Bill Clinton backed Romanoff, who had been in Hillary Clinton's corner in 2008.

Buck, the Weld County district attorney, rode outsider sentiment and Tea Party energy to his victory over Norton. Norton was not helped by her many Washington ties, which included fundraising help from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
By contrast, Buck's most visible ally in Washington was Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina firebrand who is backing high-profile, Tea Party-favored candidates across the country. Buck created a potentially damaging moment when, asked at a conservative gathering why people should vote for him, replied: "Because I do not wear high heels." The remark went viral and Norton used it to go on the attack, but was unable to blunt Buck's momentum.

More Elections Coverage:

- Linda McMahon's Primary Win Sets Up a Money-Talks Senate Race
- Ken Buck, GOP Senate Nominee, Rocks the Colorado Tea Party
- Georgia GOP Runoff for Governor Too Close to Call; Recount Possible
- Minnesota Democrats Pick Former Sen. Mark Dayton as Governor Candidate
- Politics Daily: Full 2010 Elections Coverage

The Colorado GOP gubernatorial race featured a disquieting pair of alternatives. McInnis was tarred by a plagiarism scandal and repaid $300,000 to a foundation for having submitted material he lifted from an academic. Maes was the subject of a campaign finance complaint and ended up paying a $17,500 fine for violations. He also raised eyebrows when he said efforts to promote bicycle riding in Denver are part of a United Nations plan aimed at taking away personal freedoms.

Maes will now face Hickenlooper and former GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo. Tancredo decided to run as a third-party candidate after McInnis and Maes rejected his demands that they step down if they won and let the party pick a replacement.

In Connecticut, McMahon, the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, spent $22 million of her own money to win the GOP Senate nomination. She and her family have appeared in some of WWE's off-color fictional melodramas, a fact that's already coming up in Democratic talking points. But that didn't sway many Republicans to play it safe with former congressman Rob Simmons, who waged an off-again, on-again race that never gained traction.

In Connecticut's Democratic gubernatorial primary, telecommunications executive Ned Lamont lost to former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy despite spending $9 million of his own money. It was his second statewide defeat. In 2006 he created a stir by mobilizing the liberal netroots and beating Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary, only to fall to Lieberman's independent candidacy in the general election. Former diplomat Tom Foley won the Republican nomination for governor.

Former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel conceded Wednesday to former Rep. Nathan Deal in the state's near-deadlocked Republican gubernatorial runoff. Like the Democratic Senate contest in Colorado, the race had turned into a proxy fight among national VIPs – in this case three Republicans who may run for president in 2012. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented a Georgia district, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Georgia presidential primary, backed Deal. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin endorsedHandel as one of her "mama grizzlies," her name for the female candidates she is throwing her weight behind this year. The endorsement fueled a Handel surge and made her a contender.

In the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Minnesota, department store heir and former senator Mark Dayton narrowly defeated former state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Dayton spent more than $3.3 million on the race. Kelliher was endorsed by the party, the Minneapolis StarTribune and the fundraising group EMILY's List, which called her "a gifted leader on the rise." Dayton will face Republican Tom Emmer, a Minnesota state House member favored by the Tea Party.
Filed Under: 2010 Elections

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Watch the Republicans attack Social Security, and Medicare as Socialist Programs. While at the same time they've helped Companies Ship Jobs overseas. Republicans for workers and the Middle Class is a laugh.

September 03 2010 at 12:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Our political partys are a joke, a frace and a sharade. They consist of a bunch of lawyers adept at deceiving a bunch of High-School graduates ( we-the-people).

August 14 2010 at 7:57 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Dems are driving Colorado into a financial ditch, just like everywhere else. And their illegal-immigration-friendly state will suffer greatly if Dems legalize illegals in 2011 as planned, and their citizens are competing with 10-20 millions illegals for jobs.

August 12 2010 at 12:26 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

I find it interesting that the author of the article says that Michael Bennet "survived" the primary. Gee, since he won by a respectable margin, I'd call that a "win" not "survived"! I know Jill leans to the right, but a win by this margin is a win, not a "survival". So much negative reporting. He won, ok??? Lucky Colorado, I say!!! WOO HOO!!! On to November!

August 11 2010 at 11:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Makes little difference. Even in Colorado, any candidate will be a big problem for Democrats. They aren't as stupid as Democrats think.

August 11 2010 at 7:01 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

So what are my choices this the party that grew the federal govt larger than all groups since the new deal from 2000-2006. The party that tripled the national debt while waging 2 wars on a credit card. Thats in bed with every corporate interest from insurance to big pharma and couldn't give a damn about the small businesses of America, despite paying lip service to small business job creation.
Wait whats my other choice..oh the party that has had power for the past 6 years. also in bed with wall street, big pharma and the Insurance companies. The party that decided that since the republicans ballooned the debt they would continue that moronic idea.
I'm waiting for a true third party that will mediate the river of bad ideas that the Reps and Dems continue to force on us.
1 Force all banks that recieved TARP money to show that they will substantially increase lending to small businesses this process should be transparent, so we can see which of these banks will comply.
2 Withdraw all forces from Afghanistan as we are losing too many young men and women with no real end game in sight and save over $200 billion a year. The Chinese have been buying and paying for our wars since 2004 and we are too beholden to them to enforce a new trade policy.
3 Impose Tariffs on goods from foreign countries that skirt GATT rules and don't allow US goods to compete like China and Korea.
4 We have spent the last 25 years exporting jobs to India, China, Mexico and Vietnam and have lost over 60% of our manufacturing capacity since then. It may be great for share prices but its bad for the US worker and unless we implement 3 these jobs will never return.
5 Lastly on illegal immigration.
As an employer I can easily check the immigration status ( for free) of any potential employee through e-verify. The states with the least use of e-verfiy are Arizona. Texas and California, which leads me to believe that they would rather hire cheap illegal aliens when they need them but com-plain abiut then when the economy downturns. There are substantial penalties in the 1986 Immig law for employers that KNOWINGLY hire illegal aliens but you rarely see them enforced.
Its simple..provdie me with a drivers licence and proof of citizenship (or permanent residency) I can check on e-verify and hire or fire on that basis.
Lastly is there a current incsrnation of Teddy Roosevelt out there that wants to resurrect the Bull Moose party to take on these modern day Robber barons. I for one am sick to death of the donkey braying and the elephant trumpeting !

August 11 2010 at 12:57 PM Report abuse +26 rate up rate down Reply

Did you mean the Dems are STUCK with Bennet, or they stuck with Bennet out of some misguided loyalty to the POTUS? Keith said it very well.........Bennet has proved himself to be a Party man. Please, voters, match what the candidates have done in the past, with what they are telling you today. Where is the integrity when past actions of a candidate tells you his words today are false? Can you trust the tiger has changed stripes? I don't think so.

August 11 2010 at 12:36 PM Report abuse +21 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ettu's comment

McCain has done a complete reversal on his stand on immigration since the election. That is a party man.

August 11 2010 at 1:07 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

Mr. Bennett was appointed by Mr. Ritter to fill out a term - promised he wasn't going to run once his appointment was finished. That's how we can believe what he says. He hasn't been bipartisan, hasn't listened to the majority of voters in Colorado when making his voting choice, he's one of the same cookie-cutter politicans who does not deserve to continue in Congress. Come on Colorado - we need someone who will listen to us.

August 11 2010 at 12:29 PM Report abuse +22 rate up rate down Reply
J. R. Gilbert

It would appear that the "throw all of the incumbents out" campaign is taking hold with the voters. This might be a bad idea in some cases as there are still a few good people in Washington.

People need to take the time to see what indididuals did or did not do while in office. Look at it this way. All of these "newbies" could benefit from the few good people in Washington.

August 11 2010 at 12:23 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply

The money spent on campaigns is ridiculous. No wonder both parties are such a turn off to so many Americans.

August 11 2010 at 12:08 PM Report abuse +30 rate up rate down Reply

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