Yesterday, before Mitt Romney landed in Colorado, his campaign announced their state leadership committee. As we mentioned yesterday, the list reads like a who's who of Colorado’s political establishment. From former Governor Bill Owens to former US Senator Hank Brown, Mitt Romney has the state's establishment old guard backing his candidacy. You can find the full list after the jump.

The fact that Romney has the establishment supporting him is no surprise, but we wonder what impact that might have on his chances in Colorado.

Last cycle Scott McInnis and Jane Norton proved how utterly useless establishment endorsements can be in primary campaigns. That's not to say that highly respected former elected officials like Owens or Allard are not important people, or that their backing means nothing, but that in this brave new world of primaries post-Tea Party, establishment endorsements are just not going to cut it anymore.

Endorsements, in general, can still have a big impact, but not when they are stale and predictable. And moreover, many of these “endorsers” are well past their political prime, lacking the base of more, shall we say, modern Colorado GOP politicos.

When Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton, Ryan Frazier, and Ken Buck throw an endorsement, that friends will mean a helluva’ lot more than what Romney commandeered yesterday.

Where the old guard establishment endorsements do matter for Romney is in the fact that they close off opportunities for more mainstream candidates like Tim Pawlenty to become the establishment's anti-Romney candidate. There is always space for an establishment alternative, much like Romney was to McCain in 2008.

The quicker Romney shuts off those avenues of support, the harder it will be for Pawlenty to compete. T-Paw desperately needs a big fundraising haul by the end of June to prove to his critics that big name politicos and donors see a path to victory for him. Romney's announcement of his leadership committee in Colorado just made that much harder for Pawlenty in this state, as the endorsement of folks like Owen and Allard still matter greatly to big donors. 

While establishment endorsements matter little nowadays in primaries, they'll matter a bit more in a Presidential year. That is because in Presidential years voters who pay little attention to politics get involved and big, bold names like Bill Owens giving his imprimatur will stick out to those folks. Current elected officials, or recently retired ones, have big volunteer lists to contribute, but on Romney's leadership list we don't see that. Attorney General John Suthers and Treasurer Walker Stapleton are on the list, yes, but we doubt they have any sort of significant grassroots operations to contribute. 

At the end of the day, Romney's leadership list has some big names, but we just don't think it makes a whole hell of a lot of difference. This race will be decided by the grassroots, not the establishment. When a conservative darling like Ken Buck or Cory Gardner endorses, that will be news. Until then we remain unimpressed. 


June 20, 2011

Boston, MA – Mitt Romney today welcomed the support of respected Colorado leaders who will serve on his leadership committee.

“I am proud to earn the support of so many well respected Colorado leaders,” Mitt Romney said. “I look forward to working with them during my campaign to promote job creation, balance our exploding budgets, and reverse President Obama’s failed policies.”

Announcing his support, Sen. Hank Brown said, “Mitt Romney has the proven record to pull our economy out of this downturn. His extraordinary success in both the private and public sectors will help provide the leadership our country needs to restore our economy and the American spirit.”

Members Of Mitt Romney’s Colorado Leadership Committee:

Senator Hank Brown Is A Former U.S. Senator And Past University Of Colorado President. Brown has served Colorado in the State Senate and the U.S. House Of Representatives. Following his retirement from the U.S. Senate, Brown became the President of the University of Northern Colorado and went on to serve as President of the University of Colorado.

Governor Bill Owens Served As Colorado Governor From 1999 To 2007. During his time as Governor, Owens fought for lower taxes and education reform. Owens has served in the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado State Senate. In 1994, Owens was elected Colorado Treasurer.

Senator Wayne Allard Is A Former U.S. Senator First Elected To The U.S. Senate In 1996. Allard was reelected in 2002 and retired in 2009. During his Senate career, Allard was a champion for reducing spending and lower taxes. Allard also served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Colorado State Senate. During his time in the Colorado State Senate, Allard continued his practice as a full time veterinarian.

Attorney General John Suthers Was Appointed In January 2005. After two years in office, Suthers won the Attorney General election in 2006 and won reelection in 2010. Suthers was nominated by President Bush in 2001 to become United States Attorney for the District of Colorado and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He is also the former head of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

CongressmanBob Beauprez Served In The U.S. House Of Representatives From 2003 To 2007.  During his time in the U.S. House, Beauprez served on the Small Business Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. Beauprez is the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. Prior to his chairmanship, Beauprez worked in banking, land development and the dairy industry. Beauprez now operates a buffalo ranch in the Colorado mountains.

Claudia Beauprez Is A Member Of The University of Colorado Hospital Foundation Board Of Directors. Beauprez has worked in banking, real estate, and the dairy industry. Currently, she helps operate a buffalo ranch in the Colorado mountains. She is the wife of former Congressman Bob Beauprez.

Walker Stapleton Was Sworn In As Colorado Treasurer In January 2011. As Treasurer, Stapleton is in charge of investing Colorado’s tax dollars and oversees the unclaimed property division. Stapleton has a background in business where he served as CEO and CFO of several publicly traded companies.

University Of Colorado Regent-At-Large Steve Bosley Has Served On The University Of Colorado Board Of Regents Since 2004. Bosley is a founding member of the Deming Entrepreneurship Advisory Board in the University Of Colorado Leeds School of Business. In addition to his work with the university, Bosley has over thirty years of experience in the banking industry.