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Ken Buck, GOP Senate Nominee, Rocks the Colorado Tea Party

5 years ago
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LOVELAND, Colo. -- Pat Bellamy, a Loveland Republican, wore a T-shirt to Ken Buck's victory celebration Tuesday night that read "November is Coming." She's a member of the local Glenn Beck-inspired 9/12 Project, and said illegal immigration is a big issue for her.

"He took a stand on illegal immigration," she said of the new GOP Senate nominee. "That really spoke to a lot of us, that somebody would stand up and rule by the Constitution."

Buck echoed Bellamy's concern -- and her T-shirt -- in his victory speech.

"We asked Republicans and Democrats, please protect our border," he said. "The funny thing? They heard us. But they ignored us. You know what folks? In November, we will not be ignored anymore."

Anti-establishment candidate Buck rode a wave of voter dissatisfaction to a narrow victory Tuesday, buoyed in large part by the Tea Party movement.

Surrounded by a few hundred supporters cheering him on in a hotel ballroom, Buck said he looked forward to his race against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, who also won a hard-fought primary Tuesday. In addition to pressing the illegal immigration issue, Buck said he'll attack Bennet's votes in favor of health care and financial reform, among others.

"Get a good night's sleep," Buck told the crowd. "Because for the next 83 days, we are going to unite the Republican Party; we are going to reach out our hand for those independent voters and Democrats who are fed up with Washington ignoring them."

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Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, considered the favorite early on, called Buck to concede shortly after a Denver television station called the race. Buck wouldn't say whether Norton offered her support, which he'll need in the November contest.

The Weld County district attorney acknowledged the Tea Party role in his victory, as did other supporters.

"I think the Tea Party movement was huge, but they're obviously part of an overall grassroots movement that got this done for us," Buck said. "I think that we will bring that constitutional message to the broader electorate in the upcoming election."

George Nowell, a longtime Republican activist from Longmont, predicted the Tea Party will bring long-term change to the GOP. "They're the ones who, in terms of voting right now, in terms of execution, are pulling the wagon."

Buck almost dropped out last year, when Norton entered the race with the perceived backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Instead, encouraged by Tea Party supporters and other conservatives, he stayed in.

At one point last fall, only two people were paid to work for Buck's campaign. Walt Klein, a consultant for the campaign, noted that Buck's run was an effort fueled by the candidate.

"Ken Buck set a wave in motion, the likes of which this state has never seen," Klein said. "This is the first campaign I've ever been involved in where the major challenge of the campaign has been to catch up with the momentum of the candidate."

Much like their Democratic counterparts, Norton and Buck drew few and narrow distinctions on issues. Buck opposes abortion in all cases, while Norton would make exceptions to save the life of a mother or in cases of rape and incest. Norton emphasized the war on terror in a prominent television ad.

"The differences between Jane Norton and Ken Buck were minuscule compared to the differences between Ken Buck and Michael Bennet," Buck said Tuesday.

While Buck aims to point out those differences, an independent group called Campaign for a Strong Colorado announced a Wednesday news conference to point out how Buck is "too extreme" for Colorado.

Where Buck and Norton truly parted was in outside support and fundraising. Arizona Sen. John McCain, whose name drew jeers at the May Republican nominating assembly, campaigned with Norton Sunday. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina appeared with Buck at an event in July.

With almost $2.9 million through July 21, Norton raised more than double Buck's take. But Buck relied on television ad buys from outside groups, including the Campaign for Liberty and Americans for Job Security. That's when the race started getting nasty, with Norton suggesting in one ad that Buck wasn't "man enough" to take her on himself.

Then there was the boy vs. girl back and forth, in which Buck suggested voting for him because he didn't wear high heels, while Norton suggested voting for her because she was a woman.

Buck referred to that remark in thanking his wife Tuesday night.

"It's not easy to love a candidate," he said. "It's especially not easy to love a candidate who has a cowboy boot in his mouth."

As the party wound down, Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams arrived to congratulate the nominee.

"It's a testimony to Ken's tenacity," Wadhams said. "He earned this the hard way."

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joby weeks

Repeal the 17th Amendment with each state bi-cameral legislative body electing a US Senator every six years. Result: This will overturn William Randolph Hearts and fellow robber barons scheme to influence the US Senate through funding and media influence peddling of statewide US Senate Campaigns. The States, as the founders intended, will once again check the federal government through the US Senate. – 1787 US Constitutional Convention

August 27 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The republican tea party will ultimately DESTROY the right wing in this country. While the radical candidates may be winning some primaries, America will (and has) quickly learned that indeed there is NO SUBSTANCE to these candidates,and when they realize that these people will end up as DO NOTHING elected officials if they ever get to Washington, we will soon start to see RECALL petitions and REMOVALS from office, as has happened in Arizona and Texas in the past.

All these candidates ever say is "we're going to take our country back, but then they do NOTHING and take no ACTION to do anything. All they do is talk, and talk is VERY cheap. It might make angry disenfranchised voters feel good to elect an unqualified radical candidate, but this is dangrous and they will soon pay the political price for it.

August 11 2010 at 11:57 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bpdarling's comment

jp funny you werent saying that as Bush spent ten trillion and why would you think any republican would control spending and reduce the goverment.Hears a challange for you just tell america when a republican pressident are a republican majority ever cut the deficet,or reduce goverment I can name times they grew the deficet grew goverment and in the end failed to substain job growth. So either you been fooled by republicans or youll be able to cite numerious times they cut deficets and created sustained job growth

August 11 2010 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"they heard us and ignored us" that's cause they (the feds) don't realize that this is a nation BY THE PEOPLE! FOR THE PEOPLE! OF THE PEOPLE!

August 11 2010 at 10:40 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

History has a strange way of always repeating itself.

If you study the history of many societies you will see that whenever times get tough, they blamed the immigrants. The Nazis blamed the foreign influence of capitalism funded by the Jews. The middle East blamed the Jew, Christians, and each other, etc., etc.

The USA has not had a real Latin American Policy since Kennedy was President. Our lack of involvement with our neighbors to the South has contributed to the immigration mess. Now, we are being over run by people fleeing bad conditions at home. Interestingly enough, most would rather have stayed at home. But, were forced to leave due to economics.

We vacation in places immigrants are fleeing! Economics have driven people from their wonderful homelands, to us.

There is no simple solution. Yet there are a few things we could do to make things a little better, and slow the immigration problem.

1. Normalize relations with Cuba. This is a plain stupid situation; nuff said.
2. Resolve the problems between the USA and Venezuela. Chavez is not going away, and we need to make the best of it.
3. Start economic improvement zones in places that source the immigrants. One on the Belize Honduran Mexican border would halt much of the people traffic.
4. Make a Cabinet level position in DC that deals only with Latin America.

These are not the answer to our problems today, but they are a good start for a solution.

August 11 2010 at 10:22 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

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