2012 GOP Primary Prognostications

Here are our thoughts on four bellwether GOP primaries taking place in Colorado tomorrow.

SD-8, Baumgardner vs. White

Sen. Jean White says that the tough primary she is facing in Senate District 8 isn’t supposed to be happening. Rep. Randy Baumgardner, Sen. White claims, promised he would not challenge her in a primary only to renege on that promise. Sen. White’s vote in favor of civil unions legislation has left her vulnerable to nasty attacks from national conservative activist groups that may nonetheless be effective in a right-leaning primary. Rep. Baumgardner is by most estimates favored to win this race with civil unions playing a major role, despite a late-breaking scandal regarding an unregistered sex offender living in his home. It’s an irony that could leave the SD-8 GOP primary ripe for late-night talk show monologue ridicule.

A Baumgardner primary win over Sen. White would also mark a final end to claims from Republicans that Democrats beset them with “misogynist” maps intended to take out women GOP legislators. Obviously, they would be demonstrably doing a fine job of that themselves.

HD-19, Stephens vs. Looper

The incumbent-on-incumbent primary between House Majority Leader Amy Stephens and Rep. Marsha Looper has been an ugly and divisive battle, highlighted by accusations of heresy to conservative doctrine–mostly on the part of Stephens, related to her on-again-off-again backing for widely supported health insurance exchanges that Republicans, amped up to oppose anything and everything associated with  “Obamacare,” could not distinguish from the federal reform.  The fight broke along unusual lines in the GOP coalition, with Stephens proudly waving the Focus on the Family banner and Looper rallying the Tom Tancredo faction. If Stephens holds off Looper’s challenge, it’s a sign that the GOP House leadership’s desperate fight against civil union legislation was a win with social conservatives in HD-19.

CD-2, Weissmann vs. Lundberg

Relatively unknown businessman Eric Weissmann has lined up GOP insider support in his primary against conservative state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, but Lundberg has done more to organize Republicans who are likely to vote in primaries. Lundberg’s support in evangelical Christian communities in Larimer County could give him the decisive edge against the oddly lackluster Weissmann, who hasn’t fought back with aggressive media buys or field work that we’ve seen.

Whoever prevails faces an uphill battle to catch incumbent Jared Polis in a district that, while more competitive on paper, retains solidly Democratic voting patterns.

CD-5, Blaha vs. Lamborn

Three-term incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn faces the unexpected fight of his career against the upstart but strong newcomer Robert Blaha. The GOP primary is virtually decisive in CD-5, so conservative primary voters aren’t faced with the realistic possibility of a loss of the seat of a Democrat.

As we’ve recounted in this space repeatedly, Lamborn has failed to endear himself to his Republican constituents despite an impeccably loyal voting record. Doug Lamborn fails to thrive because at a certain level, it is not enough to be a loyal automaton who carries the flag without ever doing anything to distinguish himself–while committing a variety of blunders and slip-ups that make even the most loyal Republican wince. It doesn’t matter if Robert Blaha is any better than Lamborn, though he’s impressed more people than we would have expected when we first heard of him.

If Blaha wins, he’ll be one small sign that checks against incompetence and ideological blindness to incompetence do exist–even if none of our other bellwethers say so.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Baumgardner – the Republican primary remains a very conservative electorate.

    Stephens – conservative voters hate gay marriage more than they hate health insurance.

    Lundberg – did I mention that the Republican primary remains a very conservative electorate?

    Lamborn – Blaha needed to close the sale with the voters, not just leaders.

  2. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    1. Baumgardner will win because he represents the values of the district. The smear attempt by White supporters failed, and I for one take Baumgardner at his word. Show some compassion.

    2. Stephens will win because Looper has been all over the map trying to be the anti-Stephens. Meanwhile, Stephens did a great job this year holding the line against liberals.

    3. Weissmann better represents the district, but I agree Lundberg has probably outhustled Weissmann. Both good men.

    4. None of you liberals care who wins this race, so please stop talking about it.

    • speedyexpress48 says:

      I guess 1 might be somehow correct (values of the district…unfortunately), 2 seems more like smearing than actual analysis (tho I guess Stepens MIGHT have a better chance), 3 probably won’t matter much since Polis is still pretty-well liked here in CD2, and 4…why the hell did you bring it up then?  

    • FREMONTDEM says:

      4. Sadly, liberals in CD-5 get no such relief. Anyone under the age of 32 in CD-5 has suffered a similar fate.  Of course we care. Why can’t you admit Lamborn embarrasses you too.

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