One of the major lessons of last night's primary was the enduring strength of the Larimer County GOP, or rather the enduring strength of Larimer conservatives to swing primary elections. Just as Ken Buck's massive Larimer margin of victory (63%-36%) helped power him past Jane Norton, Senator Kevin Lundberg racked up similar margins in Larimer (68%-31%) that helped him defeat Eric Weissmann.
For future candidates it offers a lesson worth learning — ignore Larimer conservatives at your peril.
Despite Weissmann winning everywhere in CD2 except Larimer, and Norton racking up large margins of victory in most major conservative counties like El Paso and Douglas, it was the home county of CSU that made all the difference. Larimer Republican primary voters aren't mild in their support of whom they deem to be the most conservative candidate — they throw their full collective weight behind them.
Mitt Romney is also no stranger to the impact Larimer Republicans can have. He lost the state precinct caucuses in February to Rick Santorum by 3,602 votes — and lost Larimer County to Santorum by 3,499 votes.
In a county the size of Larimer it's the raw vote margin that candidates rack up that can carry them to victory, virtually winning the race on their Larimer finish alone.
Candidates take note, you can't win without Larimer conservatives.