Buck NOT Withdrawing From Senate Race

UPDATE: Press release from Ken Buck, “full steam ahead.”

Ken Buck confirmed today that it’s full steam ahead for his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Buck said, “While other candidates may still jump in the Senate race, one thing is clear – our party’s nominee will be chosen by Colorado’s grassroots Republicans, not by political operatives in Washington D.C.”[Pols emphasis]

Buck said he has been deeply gratified by the strong response to his campaign from literally thousands of Coloradans over the past few months. “We have campaign leadership in every county in the state,” he said.

Buck declared that his campaign has never been about him personally but rather about the critical importance of taking back the U.S. Senate seat from Michael Bennet.

Colorado deserves a strong independent Senator who will do the right thing for Colorado. Instead Buck claimed, “the appointed Senator Bennet has turned out to be just another rubber stamp for the big spending, big government liberals in Congress.”

When all is said and done, this may actually turn out to have been a great blessing for Buck, who now gets to cast himself as the “true grassroots candidate” of the Republican Party. This gives Buck an identity he didn’t have but sorely needed, and it gives primary voters a reason to support someone they otherwise had never heard of before.

Original post follows…

We’ve just confirmed that reports from the weekend of the imminent punking of GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck’s campaign have, as the saying goes, been exaggerated. The Denver Post reported today:

The chairman of the Colorado Republican Party says he plans to inform a national GOP group today that it created a “backlash” by registering two domain names for potential U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton.

Dick Wadhams pointed to a rash of e-mails during the weekend among Colorado Republicans who are upset with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which they believe is playing favorites in the crowded 2010 primary field.

The backlash is so strong, Republican sources say, that Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck might stay in the Senate race after all. He had been expected to withdraw today…

“I fully intend to let them know that Colorado Republicans expect to select their nominee themselves without the endorsement of outside groups,” Wadhams said Sunday.

“There is a backlash. You can see it in the e-mail traffic.”

One e-mail was written by Le Moine Dowd and distributed by Scott Starin, chairman of the Boulder County Republican Party. The subject line reads, “Send this to every Republican you know.”

She wrote that the “the endorsement of Jane Norton by the NRSC is essentially a deathblow for all other candidates.”

There’s several ways we could say what you’re all thinking, so we’ll phrase it in the form of a question: how many of you seriously believe that Dick Wadhams didn’t know exactly what his old friends at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) were up to?

That’s what we thought. Nice to see he still thinks you’re stupid, though.

At any rate, it’s safe to say the conservative rebellion against Jane Norton and everything she institutionally represents is real, and the D.C. kingmakers (who all have Wadhams on their speed-dial) had no idea what they were stepping in. If we were one of said D.C. kingmakers, we’d be asking why Wadhams didn’t foresee this…

Wadhams aside, this is a good sign for Republicans in Colorado if the era of hand-picking candidates (especially when they aren’t very good, a la Bob Schaffer) is coming to an end. The Colorado GOP still has a ways to go to figure out its identity, but they need to figure it out organically — and not by letting someone like Wadhams explain it for them.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    selects the candidates it does these days.  Could some helpful R please explain why it is the GOP apparently wants it to be Jane Norton?  

    • Republican 36 says:

      Through its purification process, only those candidates with perfect right-wing credentials (they’re not conservatives)are nominated. The announced Republican candidates for U.S. Senate have not shown any real strength in that race, either in fundraising or popular support. Mr. Frazier doesn’t qualify because he is far too moderate (i.e gay issues and he is pro choice)and that automatically eliminates him from the Republican nominating process.

      Mr. Buck has done better at fundraising but compared to Senator Bennett or by measuring what it will cost to run an effective campaign, his fundraising numbers are anemic, plus he hasn’t generated any real enthusiasm.

      The Republican organization is looking for one of their own and Jane Norton fits the bill. Regardless of her stand on Ref. “C,” she is a known quantity within the party and she ascribes to all of the fanatical right-wing positions hearlded by the religious/social fanatics who control the Republican Party in Colorado. Her husband is a member of that wing of the party.

      The Republican organization is peopled by individuals who live cloistered lives outside the main stream of society. They view everday life as a danger because of the temptations it offers. Thats why they home school their children, support candidates who want to shut down the public education system and at a fundamental level don’t believe government should exist. Their primary goal is to undermine and destroy public institutions. Because of that, they can’t support candidates who actually want to govern. It also leads the party to select extreme candidates (i.e. Bob Schafer).

      Until the Republican Party purges most of the people who are the present day activists, including the precinct committeemen and women, it will continue to nominate candidates who are extremists.

      With Jane Norton’s name being bandied about, Mr. Buck may stay in the race but his fundraising will certainly remain anemic. The real question is whether Ms. Norton has the “fire-in-the-belly” for a campaign. If she doesn’t (and I’m betting she doesn’t) then she probably won’t run or, if she does, her campaign will not be strong. All this adds up to one conclusion, the Republican Party in Colorado doesn’t have any major league candidates at the moment to run for U.S. senator.

  2. ReThinkRitter says:

    Here’s his e-mail:

    Monday, August 31, 2009


    From:  Dick Wadhams, State Chairman

    There are two important issues that have recently emerged that I want to address with you:


    You have heard me speak and write many times how strongly I believe in a competitive, open and fair process for the Republican nomination for any office from county commissioner to governor.

    We have several outstanding candidates for U.S. Senate who will ultimately be strengthened by rigorous debate and competition in our nomination process.

    There has been a lot of discussion in the past few days alleging that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is endorsing a specific candidate.

    I can absolutely state that the NRSC will not endorse in our Colorado Republican nomination process for the U.S. Senate.

    The NRSC is critical to our ability to win this 2010 Senate race and I have tremendous confidence in the NRSC Chairman, U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and his professional staff.  We will be working closely with the NRSC over the coming months so that our eventual nominee will be in the strongest position possible to win in November 2010.

    On a side note, I hope you saw Saturday’s news reports that former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is going to run against the appointed, accidental senator, Michael Bennet, for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.


    I am profoundly disappointed that one of the candidates for governor has indicated he will not attend our dinner and forum for candidates for Governor and U.S. Senator on Friday, September 25 at Keystone.  

    Former Congressman Scott McInnis released a letter this past Friday saying he would not attend the event, alleging that the straw poll will create “infighting.”

    But even more disturbing is the suggestion by his campaign spokesman that we are somehow rigging the straw poll that will follow the forum that evening.

    I am very perplexed how a candidate for governor has reached such a conclusion.   Participating in a forum in front of Republican leaders from across the state and allowing those leaders to register their thoughts on who they thought did the best job in articulating why they should be our party’s nominee for major office is a tremendous opportunity for a candidate.

    The letter from the McInnis campaign curiously alleges that the “straw poll provides discourse amongst ourselves.”  Indeed it does!  

    “Discourse” is defined by Merriam-Webster as a “verbal exchange of ideas” and “formal and orderly and usually extended expression of thought on a subject.”  And that is exactly what the forum is intended to do.

    As Republicans, we believe competition makes us better and stronger.  A rigorous, competitive nomination process produces better candidates.  I managed the campaigns for Senator Wayne Allard in 1996 and Governor Bill Owens in 1998 when they had competitive primaries and went on to win in the general election.

    This will be the first time Republican leaders will be gathered in one place since the candidates for Governor and U.S. Senator have been defined.

    Immediately following the release of the McInnis letter, the Colorado Republican State Executive Committee, meeting in Pueblo this past Friday, voted 16 to 1 to move forward with the forum and straw poll.  And we fully intend to do so.  

    Finally, the McInnis campaign spokesman said in today’s Denver Post he was “suspicious” of the straw poll.  Consider the source of this allegation.  

    The McInnis campaign spokesman previously worked for liberal billionaire Tim Gill who has spent tens of millions of dollars attacking Republicans in Colorado.  The spokesman just recently left his job at a Democratic political consulting firm that is running Governor Bill Ritter’s campaign.

  3. One Queer Dude says:

       Although I disagree with him on most issues (on immigration issues, he’s little more than Tancredo 2.0), Buck was getting screwed by the NRSC.  

      I give him credit for standing up to Cornyn & Co., and letting the indigenious wing nuts of the Colorado GOP pick its own candidate.  

  4. daunteblue says:

    Norton will likely beat Buck because he is a stale candidate with lesser name recognition and, apparently,  party favor.  But don’t think the GOP senate kingmakers are automatically out of this game because Buck is staying in. I wouldn’t doubt if the NRSC preferred Buck stay in as a sacrificial lamb to make Norton appear a stronger tested candidate coming out of the primary.  

    • twas brillig says:

      Very cagey, those NRSC folks. Somehow I don’t see it here, though.  

      • Republican 36 says:

        Just my speculation but I think there is a strong probablity that Mr. Buck sensed that Ms. Norton told the NRSC she will run, but only if she can avoid a primary. If that is true, then he made a shrewd decision by forcing her to see a potentially divisive primary ahead and thus making her less likely to run.  

        • Middle of the Road says:

          that has raised decent money. It makes no sense to me that he would be the one out of all those running to take his ball and go home.  I suppose it’s what Wadhams and gang were hoping for since he is the biggest threat to Norton but it sure makes little sense for Buck’s camp.

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    If she does not have the willingness to fight for the seat then Ken staying may cause her to not run. Someone who insists on no primary tends to be unwilling to work for the job.

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