Back in January, the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board took the unusual step of calling on every Republican gubernatorial candidate not named Walker Stapleton to get out of the race:
If Republicans hope to elect a governor this fall, they need to narrow the primary field and unite behind State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.
This editorial, while conveying an unmistakable message, apparently did not constitute a formal endorsement of Stapleton’s campaign. That came Sunday:
The term-limited state treasurer, Stapleton has a proven record of standing up for hard-working Coloradans. His work benefits middle-class families — struggling to provide food, shelter and clothing — and the working poor. Though holding a statewide public office for two straight terms, he is the rare politician who consistently crusades against the “establishment” of decision makers moving in packs.
The Gazette then recites a list of pro-Stapleton talking points that appear to be lifted directly from Stapleton’s recent ads–including claims that have been debunked by fact-checkers, like Walker Stapleton “led the charge” against Amendment 69 (he didn’t) and “led [the] crusade to defeat a $1 billion tax increase” (he didn’t). It seems there’s not much respect at Clarity Media for colleague journalists’ work product.
There’s nothing surprising about the Gazette’s endorsement, of course, but it should be noted clearly for the record how the biggest conservative news outlet in the state, controlled by the state’s foremost Republican kingmaker, has leaned hard into the GOP gubernatorial primary for Stapleton from the very beginning.
And, you know, sometimes that goes well.