We speculated earlier that the surprise announcement that Sen. Dave Schultheis would not run for re-election in 2010 might be the GOP’s attempt to get rid of one of their most divisive and problematic members (at least in terms of public perception). But as it turns out, Schultheis’ exit might have been a planned move to make sure that his hand-picked successor, equally-looney Rep. Kent Lambert (and a pal from the Republican Conservative Study Committee, or whatever they call it), would be able to walk into the seat.
Lambert announced yesterday that he would run for Schultheis’ Senate seat in 2010, and from what we hear, most other potential challengers consider him a near-lock and will likely not oppose him in a primary (this is a safe GOP seat, so the action is in the primary).
Schultheis’ timing in making his announcement also means that Rep.Amy Stephens, a potential challenger, would not be able to run for the seat; because the election is less than 12 months away, Stephens doesn’t have time to move into the district and still be eligible to run.
This is all reminiscent of 2006, when long time GOP state Sen. Norma Anderson abruptly retired in order to give her chosen successor, Kiki Traylor, a head start. Schultheis isn’t resigning, of course, and Anderson’s move didn’t work out when Traylor was beaten in that summer’s primary by now Sen. Mike Kopp. Lambert also seems to have a better chance at keeping the succession plan intact than Traylor did.
Of course, all this moving around also means that Lambert’s House seat is now open. Potential bidders for that job include El Paso County GOP Chair Kay Rendleman (Lambert’s former campaign manager) and Lisa Taskerud, who is also close to Lambert.