Election congrats and thoughts

Congratulations to last nights winners.  Here are a few, with a few brief thoughts on the coming general election:

Ken Buck, whose campaign grew steadily on me during the race, as did his generally avoiding the persistent negativity which disappointed me from Jane Norton's campaign.  I also repeat my appreciation of Ken's taking a position on Afghanistan which was clearly not pandering to the base.  That took some courage.  I was disappointed in Jane's campaigning with John McCain even if he is a war hero.  McCain 2.o only exists because he had a primary challenge; we're starting to see Lindsey Graham 2.0 for similar reasons. This race also shows how poisonous it is to be or be perceived as an "insider" in 2010. Had I not voted until the last day, my vote could easily have been different. And I repeat my prior mea culpa: I should not have endorsed anyone in this race; my blogging compatriots who chose that option were wiser than I was.

Regarding election internals, of particular note to me was Buck's large margin of victory in Pueblo County, which is roughly 39% Hispanic (based on 2008 data.) Buck received over 56% of the vote versus about 44% for Norton. My primary reason for endorsing Jane Norton over Ken Buck (given that I saw them as nearly identical on policy matters before the Afghanistan issue came up) was that I thought Buck would be portrayed by the Democrats as a racist, harming his chances of winning in November.  I still think they'll try, but given the result in Pueblo as well as his home county, Weld, which also is 27% Hispanic (versus about 20% for the entire state), it seems that Buck has rather strong support among Hispanic citizens.  I'd also suggest that this result has interesting implications for the immigration debate overall, perhaps indicating that it's not nearly the political winner among Hispanics for Democrats that the Dems hope it will be.  I very much look forward to trying to help Ken beat Michael "Who?" Bennet in November and to that end I made a small contribution to Buck's campaign last night.

Dan Maes, who showed that unqualified is better than disqualified.  The problems with this result are many, however.  First, Maes can't win the election; he couldn't even if Tancredo weren't in the race.  Second, Maes won't get out of the race because he has no other job or money and it would hurt his chances of running for something else in the future, though probably not as much as he thinks it would if it were part of a plan that could allow a Republican to win the election (which would include Tancredo cooperation, also not the most likely thing.)  Third, a Maes loss in the general election will be a black eye for the Tea Party movement, making it look like a bunch of political novices who care more about making a point (and sticking with it beyond rationality) rather than winning in one of the most critical elections the state has seen in many years.

Michael "Who?" Bennet.  Great to see you on the ballot in November, Michael.  Nobody I'd rather run against than you.  Can't wait until everybody sees the video of you voting one way on a bill, seeing Chuck Schumer vote the other way, scurrying over to whisper with him and then returning to change your vote.  Great job, Michael. Really stellar. Can you say "double-digit loser"?

Walker Stapleton:  I figured Stapleton would win the CO Treasurer's race given his name recognition and connections.  All I can say is that he'd better change his tune about not opposing tax and spending increases if he doesn't want to be lynched by the Tea Party, rhetorically speaking of course.

Libertarian gubernatorial hopeful Jaimes Brown, about whom I know nothing but who I promise to learn about in a hurry and who will probably get my vote in November.

Ryan Frazier, Republican nominee for the 7th CD going up against unabashed liberal Ed Perlmutter in November.  The "moderate" aspects of Ryan's candidacy, which annoyed some of the hard-core conservative GOP base, are exactly what make him the best candidate for that particular district.  If anybody can beat Perlmutter, Ryan Frazier can.  And I hope he does.

Other thoughts:

I'm very disappointed that the undervote in the Republican gubernatorial primary was only 5%.  This will give Dan Maes a hint that he has more support than I believe he actually has, and make it all but impossible that he'll get out of the race.

The high governor's race participation implies to me that very few Republican voters read (or at least are swayed by) some of the theoretically more influential conservative/libertarian bloggers in the state, including me.  If quite a few of the supposedly biggest Republican bloggers called for people not to vote and only 5% of the GOP electorate heeded that call (and actually, many of those probably reached that conclusion without reading any blog), it shows that we don't have much pull.  On the other hand, it's possible that a couple of percentage points could be the difference in some election some day, so I guess we shouldn't give up.  Given that Maes supporters were much more dogged for their candidate than McInnis supporters were, it's possible that the call for the undervote, even if heeded by only a couple of percent of voters, threw the race for Maes.  If so, that's too bad (for the reasons I mentioned above and in prior blog notes.)

There were over 20% more votes cast in the Republican senate primary than the Democrat senate primary, perhaps a fair indication of differing voter enthusiasm between the parties, and something which I expect will actually get even worse for the Democrats going into November given that the less interesting (and much less available to the media) Senate candidate won their primary.  I can't wait to see the first Buck-Bennet debate; someone will need to bring a mop to clean up what's left of Michael "Who?" Bennet.

Burning question of the day: Is Andrew Romanoff going to buy another house, and if so does he have any money left from the sale of the last one to use as a down payment?

  • gstaff
    Comment from: gstaff
    08/11/10 @ 06:54:41 am

    Ross, you said, "...a bunch of political novices who care more about making a point (and sticking with it beyond rationality)" I've got to ask: Isn't the above just like voting libertarian in a Presidential contest? GS

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    08/11/10 @ 07:12:03 am

    Good question, Greg. My answer is no. I've often said that I'd be perfectly happy to see a Republican lose by fewer votes than the Libertarian received if that's what it takes for the GOP to realize they need to start being more libertarian. Furthermore, my most recent Libertarian votes were not as much because I wildly supported that candidate but because McCain and George W Bush were so unpalatable. That's not the same thinking behind most Maes supporters even though clearly many of them rightly find McInnis unpalatable.

  • ken smith
    Comment from: ken smith
    08/11/10 @ 07:30:26 am

    Many of us would have colored in the McInnis bubble if he wasn't such a flagrantly corrupt git. Since we're throwing away our vote anyway, a good case can be made for voting for Tanc -- if for no other reason than to make an emphatic statement regarding illegal immigration.

  • Airbus
    Comment from: Airbus
    08/11/10 @ 11:08:50 am

    The problem with the Norton neg. ads was the "corruption" of Buck story line was not easy to follow. McGinnis plagerism was very easy to understand. Going forward, Tancredo should ignore Maes, (assuming Maes will not forfeit) and go right after Hickenlooper and challenge only Hick to a debate.

  • T.L. Davis
    Comment from: T.L. Davis
    08/11/10 @ 11:30:32 am

    Ross I know your instinct is to just crap all over Maes, but it remains that he his the only gubernatorial candidate on the Republican side, even Tancredo, who has won anything along the lines of a popular vote. Now, either you do not support the concept of democratic/republicanism that is the basis for this nation, or you do. One either prefers the backroom deals and negotiations, or you support the electoral system. You know that I have had a hard time making a decision in this race. While it might be best to have someone else, we have what we have and the more we tear him down, the worse it gets for us in the future. With the denial of Maes as "governor material" aren't you and your likes most likely to discourage anyone who hasn't been previously elected from running for governor? Would you hold Lininger to the same standard? Even a successful businessman probably has no more understanding of the political machinations than Maes. I'll say a few more things. 1) In my opinion Josh Penry blew it for Norton with the negative ads. They were indicative of the circular firing squad, but I respect his intellect and understanding of politics, even if he did go a bit overboard in the Norton campaign and while those tactics are bad during a primary, they are exactly what will win the general. Therefore, I think Penry should prove his skill and ability by getting Maes elected, thereby rejuvinating his credibility. 2) The establishment should get behind Maes, or forfeit the election, starting with Buck's endorsement, Norton's endorsement and Penry's enlistment. The backroom dealers should be focusing on how they can help Maes build a first rate team, not on how to dump him in the landfill, because now, they threaten alienating everyone who voted for him. The time for BS is over. A lot of people came out to vote FOR him, does the GOP really want to hijack that process and face a THIRD PARTY in 2012? Cause, pal, that is what I will be pushing for if the GOP screws this one up.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    08/11/10 @ 11:40:04 am

    Tim, I'm not "crapping all over Maes". My statements are simply and not exaggerated. Second, I would LOVE to see a SUCCESSFUL businessman as a candidate. The experience that Maes lacks is all-encompassing, not just political experience. That's part of the problem I see. Third, I agree that Josh hurt himself with this. Fourth, I can't imagine Penry getting involved with a candidate like Maes, not least because there's so little chance of Maes winning if Tancredo stays in. Fifth, what's the point of saying what the establishment "should" do? This is about what they will do. They will support Hick to try to buy a shred of his loyalty. It might work a little, but the way Obama has attacked capitalism has shown banks that their contributions to him bought them nothing. Sixth, Maes' only chance is selling a "first rate team" to voters, because he's not an enticing product himself to people outside Tea Party activists. That's a rather weak position to be in. People don't vote for Chief of Staff or even Lt. Gov. Go for it...support a Third Party, Tim. I don't care one way or another on that issue. My position stands: I am willing to listen to Maes explain why we should have confidence in being CEO of a state when he's had such little success in business and never built a business beyond 2 or 3 employees. But it's his burden to prove it to me. Other people have a different approach. They think he's good unless proven otherwise. That's what makes a market.

  • tldavis
    Comment from: tldavis
    08/11/10 @ 06:41:03 pm

    I have been talking about process this whole time, not Maes. Since I have never heard a cogent alternative to supporting him, I would like you, since you are the greatest proponent, or at least the most public proponent, of an "other than Maes" strategy, I would like to hear the exact method by which we ignore him and choose another. What I mean by "exact" is names of who would step in and by what means. Also, I think a third party is inevitable in the current political climate and I don't mean that the third party would be the NEW party. I think times are coming when either the GOP or the Democrats become the third party. I hope it is the Democrats. If you look at Consitutionalism as a concept, that draws Republicans, Independents and conservative Democrats. How you build a party around that is the key, but I think it is coming. The Tea Party has educated the populace to a great degree on Constitutionalism, but it needs to go farther than the Tea Party can go.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    08/11/10 @ 07:27:39 pm

    Tim, At this point there is no real chance of an alternative. The best chance was if McInnis won. A third party effort is doomed to fail, at least for a decade, but feel free to try. Then you can make every election like this one. RGK

  • Brian O
    Comment from: Brian O
    08/12/10 @ 12:37:39 am

    Ross, Don't agree that McInnis would have the best chance against Hick. Both Maes and McInnis are big-government Republicans, don't seem like defenders of smaller government and/or the Constitution. Maes - hell, almost anybody - compared to McInnis is much more likeable. When there aren't any real differences in policies or positions in candidates (with McInnis v. Hick), it comes down to a personality contest - and Hick wins that hands-down. The Dick Wadhams/Josh Penry scorched-earth, trash your opponent campaign style is wearing thin with voters - it's not as effective as it used to be, like with Allard v. Strickland. It didn't work for Norton, and it won't work for the Tancredo or Maes camps to dig up past dirt on Hick. If you could make a legitimate case to contrast and compare yourself against Hick (and not shoot yourself in the foot or say too many stupid things), that's fine. The DW campaign model - and Wadhams himself - should be thrown out of the Republican party. Unfortunately, I think the Colorado GOP is too dysfunctional to make the changes it needs to turn its fortunes around. Because neither Hick, Maes or Tancredo are really limited-government defenders of the Constitution, I'll cast my vote for Jaimes Brown, the Libertarian candidate in November. You only "waste" your vote when you settle for the lesser of two evils - or in this case, the evil of three lessers.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    08/12/10 @ 06:36:38 am

    Brian, I never said McInnis would have the best chance against Hick. I said his winning the primary was the best chance of beating Hick because McInnis might have been coaxed out of the race whereas Maes won't be.