GOSSIP: OLD FACES, NEW FACES PONDER GOP CHALLENGES IN 2014
It wasn’t so long ago when adorable critters poked their heads into the daylight to see if they cast a shadow. The prognosis is clear: it’ll be 21 more months of solid campaigning until the next general election.
That’s right, Colorado Republicans have recently been emerging from their burrows to assess whether to make a run against the two top Democrats up for reelection in 2014, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper, both seen as the prohibitive favorites in a state that only months ago lurched decidedly toward the blue end of the spectrum.
As Republicans gather for their biennial reorganization meetings, even we were surprised at how many prospective senatorial or gubernatorial candidates have been floating their names. While not all of them will pull the trigger — that’s why they’re testing the waters, to badly mix metaphors while splitting an infinitive — it’s likely that at least a few will go full-out campaign on the state, and we don’t want any of our readers to feel they weren’t forewarned.
First of all, we hear that Bob Schaffer — touted as a good statewide candidate by none other than former GOP state chair Dick Wadhams in recent months — is still weighing whether to run for one or the other top seats. And Bob Beauprez, his hopes for a Romney cabinet post dashed, might still want to parlay all that stumping before enthusiastic crowds last year into something more official. Both prospects have Democrats licking their chops. When politicos talk about a party’s bench, they’re usually not referring to candidates who have been out of office for nearly a decade and lost statewide races, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
On to the recent tongue-wagging: We hear that, contrary to the musings of a locally renowned liberal blog, Scott Gessler really is running for reelection, not assembling an organization so he can switch at some point to take on Hickenlooper. But his fellow Class of 2010 Statewide Elected Republican Walker Stapleton, we hear, is pondering whether to run for governor rather than a second term as state treasurer. Thanks to his ancestors, he’s got the name ID, no voting record to attack, and by most accounts has more gravitas than he did a couple years ago.
As we reported a year ago, state Sen. Greg Brophy is still thinking about running for governor. So that’s not news. But Attorney General John Suthers, who was heavily recruited for higher office back when Bill Ritter was assumed to be seeking a second term, has been telling folks he might just do it this time. In 2009 he begged off, explaining that it would be a conundrum to represent the governor’s office legally while campaigning against him, and he’ll have to resolve that pronouncement before jumping in. Of all the Republican office-holders in the state, Suthers is likely the one Democrats fear the most, so the talk goes.
But there’s more. Someone by the name of Steve House, who won election to chair the Adams County GOP, also wants to run against Hickenlooper.
But it’s the chance to take on Udall that could require some floodgates, with at least four prominent Republicans making noise about that run.
There is word that Scott Tipton is trying to drum up support for a bid, which could leave his somewhat competitive 3rd CD open after he successfully defended it last year.
Depending on Tipton’s decision, this is where the dominos start to teeter.
State Sen. Ellen Roberts has made it known that she wants to run for Tipton’s old job if he jumps to the Senate contest, and, on top of that, that she’d be happy to run for the U.S. Senate seat if Tipton stays put.
Her colleague state Sen. Ted Harvey also wants to vie against Udall.
And a fourth name, unknown to many, is also making the rounds: Jefferson County GOP Chairman Don Ytterberg, who is seeking a second term as vice chairman of the state Republicans and has an extensive business background.
If that sounds like Republicans could just flip through a phone book (remember those?) full of party listings and come up with a similar list, remember, it’s only February, at least a year before precinct caucuses and 16 months until the primary, so don’t count that out.