The hot rumor circulating this morning is that as-yet undeclared GOP Senate candidate Jane Norton had a deal–and now she doesn’t. And when the deal falls though, you usually walk away, don’t you?
As you know, evidence that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was preparing to devote resources to Norton’s campaign–which would have had the effect of severely debilitating primary opponents–caused a major backlash among the Republican rank-and-file last week. By Friday, the situation had gotten to the point that the leading (declared) GOP candidate, Weld County DA Ken Buck, was widely reported to be getting out of the race.
Today, though, everything has changed–Buck is defiantly staying in the race. Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, who everybody we’ve talked to believes was intimately involved in the NRSC’s backroom commitments to Norton, is running away from this debacle as fast as his denials can carry him. The GOP activist base, now sensitized to what almost happened right under their noses, will be watching for any further shenanigans–and they’ve used this opportunity to remind leadership in no uncertain terms what they think of “RINOs” like Jane Norton.
So where does that leave her?
Frankly, it depends–if an agreement for Norton to enter the 2010 Senate race was contingent on clearing the primary field for her, as it was for 2008 Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, she’s now got a very good reason to reconsider. Or she could decide to stay and fight. Given that Norton has been floated as a potential candidate for higher office for years, and has always declined, it wouldn’t shock us if she ultimately decided not to run for Senate.
The word we’re getting–we’ll remind everyone that it’s only a rumor, though on good authority, and people do change their minds regardless–is the backlash of the last few days was considerably more than she bargained for.