Considered the most lively and relatable of the previous bunch of U.S. Senate candidates, Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Monument) has set aside her own Senate race following the news that U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner plans to jump into the race in the coming days.  The Gazette was the first to confirm her decision late last night.  Here’s what she said about her decision to bow out:

“Cory is Colorado’s great unifier.  He is liked in so many circles – right, left, moderate, you name it. He is Colorado’s beloved son and at the end of the day he is the candidate who can take on Mark Udall and make this happen. If we want to avoid a single-payer health system, we need Cory to win.”
Stephens confirmation came as an editorial, as opposed to a news story, which may have allowed The Gazette latitude in praising her decision, which the newspaper acknowledged must have been difficult:
“Colorado Republicans must never forget this selfless decision by Stephens, who could have posed a formidable threat to the incumbent Democrat. We seldom see politicians place the interests of a party or a political philosophy ahead of the self interest of winning a higher political office.”
In, perhaps, what was a jab at the remaining U.S. Senate candidates on the right, the newspaper also took to task Colorado politicians who engaged in “freelance efforts at political stardom”:

Too many candidates have shown more interest in self than in core principles their party supports, such as the value of small business, limited government and self reliance. Instead, factions in the party seem to care more about expressions of self-righteous ideological purity that dispense with the value of ballot victories. Freelance efforts at political stardom too often trump the need to support like-minded politicians who can win.

We applaud Buck and Stephens for showing that Colorado Republicans can work together toward common goals. As Stephens steps aside without a race to enter, we hope Republicans understand the immensity of this decision to put a friend and her party ahead of herself.

Stephens showed real leadership in stepping aside to allow a similarly-principled and more electable candidate to run for the position she sought. Republicans in Colorado and nationally could probably take a page from her book in terms of how to exit graciously.