Over the weekend, The Hill compiled a list of the Colorado politicos who might be up for challenging U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016. Despite the story’s headline that “GOP hopes dim for Colorado Senate pickup,” we actually think the list of public servants and business leaders looks pretty strong.
Let’s take the top two names that keep emerging from the rumor mill: state Sen. Ellen Roberts, of Durango, and Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler. Either would make a strong candidate against Bennet, and ColoradoPols wouldn’t be attacking them every other minute if the left weren’t worried.
Other potential contenders like Senate President Bill Cadman, radio host Dan Caplis, and businessman Wil Armstrong all present intriguing alternatives to Bennet. And let’s not forget that Bennet is polling far worse than Udall was at this time during his race.
We get that guys like Jon Caldara are worried about the potential ramifications of a primary battle. Maybe none of those potential candidates could clear the field, but that’s okay. Some of them could actually grow the big tent in new ways.
Reporters (and Republicans for that matter) shouldn’t so readily accept the narrative that the GOP has no bench and therefore no chance. The Hill reporter is largely basing his assumption that Republicans are at a disadvantage in the race on commentary from retired-political observer and frequent Facebooker Eric Sondermann. But as far as we know, Sondermann has never run a statewide candidate campaign, and he hasn’t even been in the trenches of a candidate campaign for over 20 years. So while he’s great at messaging on issues, Sondermann is not an expert on campaign strategy. He is just one opinion filling a vacuum, and his word shouldn’t be treated as gospel all the time.
When you get real campaign guys into a room you see brilliant plays like Team-Gardner running up the score in Democrat strongholds like Pueblo and Adams County. Who’s to say the GOP candidate doesn’t do something brilliant like that in 2016?
And, let us remind everyone that Republicans hold a majority of the state’s congressional seats, the Attorney General’s office, the Treasurer’s office, the Secretary of State’s office, the Colorado Senate and picked up three seats in the state House last election. Not to mention Cory Gardner’s win, which obviously proves that Colorado is far from a Democratic stronghold.
The outcome of the 2016 Senate race is still anyone’s guess, but the GOP is far from screwed.