Briefly noting an odd story from the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee late Friday:
An automated poll that hit Colorado Springs on Friday asked Republicans their opinions of state Sen. Owen Hill and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, igniting a firestorm of curiosity the day before a major El Paso County GOP meeting…
"My campaign is certainly not polling in Congressman Lamborn's district," Hill said, in a text message, of the 5th Congressional District seat.
But Patrick Davis, a GOP political consultant, said he was told by a member of Hill's team Friday that they were "fielding the poll."
Now first of all, nobody reading this story should take at face value the word of longtime GOP "dirty trickster" Patrick Davis. Davis has a long, long history in red-on-red infighting, among many other examples one of the prime movers of a 2008 "whisper campaign" in the South Carolina primary against Republican presidential candidate John McCain. We don't yet know who Davis has picked in the 2014 Colorado U.S. Senate race, but this incident suggests he has indeed picked a candidate, and is now weaving his proverbial tangled webs. Davis' advocacy group Colorado Liberty Alliance ran ads attacking Stephens' primary opponent Rep. Marsha Looper in 2012. It's also well known that animosity between Rep. Amy Stephens and Sen. Owen Hill has ramped up dramatically as they emerged as similarly-matched primary opponents.
Our best guess is that this "mystery poll" matching up Sen. Hill against incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn was intended to negatively impact Hill's U.S. Senate candidacy, by making him appear weak and opportunistic to some of the state's most committed GOP primary voters. Hill assured the Post he has no plans to abandon the Senate race in order to take on Lamborn–if that was in Hill's mind, we tend to think he would have been more cagey about the possibility when questioned.
Of course, no one can ignore the fact that Lamborn himself is far from a strong incumbent, and is regularly subjected to primary challenges from his right in this ultra-safe Republican stronghold district. Lamborn's perennial weakness breathes just enough plausibility into the idea of Hill taking Lamborn on to keep the story interesting.
Bottom line: it wouldn't be a fun primary season without some good old-fashioned skulduggery.