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June 22, 2010 05:18 PM UTC

GOP State House Candidates--Slow Fizzle Begins?

  • 25 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

It’s not a secret–well, not a very well-kept secret, anyway–that the Colorado Republican Party has singled out the state House as their primary electoral focus this year. We’ve heard rumors of over $4 million committed to GOP efforts to retake the House, and that candidate recruitment efforts have gone (their opinion) quite well.

On the other hand, we’re beginning to hear stories about serious problems emerging with a number of GOP House contenders: stuff that might have given recruiters pause had they fully vetted their picks, from the mundane and circumstantial to things you’ll be talking about for some time–seriously. Over the next few weeks, we’ll try to profile some of these more interesting races and candidates.

For today, though, we can start with the Fort Collins Coloradoan, and their report on what was once considered a prime pickup opportunity for the GOP, the seat held by Rep. John Kefalas:

Larimer County Republicans designated Fort Collins City Council member Aislinn Kottwitz this spring as their candidate to challenge Democratic state Rep. John Kefalas.

But it’s not at all clear that Kottwitz will actually run for the seat.

She was the sole candidate designated for the primary ballot at the House District 52 Republican Assembly. But since filing her candidate affidavit in late April, she’s done nothing – Kottwitz hasn’t raised any money and hasn’t even filed the paperwork that would allow her to do so…

Now the story from local Republicans is that Aislinn Kottwitz is expecting, and as a result hasn’t decided whether to commit to her nomination. That may be true, but Kottwitz’ performance on the Fort Collins City Council hasn’t been much more reliable: appointed to the Poudre Fire Authority Board last year, Kottwitz has missed four of the last seven meetings through April 2010 according to board records. She has missed numerous important votes on issues before the PFA and the City Council, including–wait for it–a vote on a resolution on “the importance of punctuality.”

Do part-time elected officials lead busy lives? Sure. Should you nevertheless consider your ability to keep commitments you make before making them? Uh, yes. Yes you should.

It’s not too late for Republicans to find another candidate, of course, but they’ll be playing catchup at this point to Kefalas’ $37,000 in the bank. That’s why, when you go through all the time and trouble to recruit somebody for a hot legislative race, you check for evidence of flakiness.

Comments

25 thoughts on “GOP State House Candidates–Slow Fizzle Begins?

  1. That districts’ 2008 performance was likely 70-80%.

    Its tough for some of you to deal with Christian pro-lifers like Palin and Kefalas.

    It is impossible to know what Palin and Kefalas really believe about God, but having been raised in conservative churches, they are fluent in church language, doctrine and culture.

    All politics is local and with the GOP organizing in home and church basements maybe you should be concerned about Ms Kottwitz. It would be interesting to she what positive leadership she’s provided to the local residents.

    I’m sure you can find many more spin opportunities, but the Christian soldiers marching to the ballot box just might pull the Kottwitz lever in response to the Obama inspired and corporate bailout backed Kafalas.

    1. what are you smoking (do you have a script for it?) and what does Palin have to do with this?  Is Kottwitz single and pregnant?  That would be a possible Palin tie-in….other than that, I’m at a loss…

  2. Joe Rice’s opponent is theorizing about terrorist treehouses out in the woods, and this candidate can’t even show up for the job she does have?  

  3. is fading faster than I can type her name. I remember when Kottwitz ran for Ft Collins City Council last year and was supposed to be a rising star in the party, clearly being positioned to move up to take on Kefalas in HD52. I love her response to the Coloradoan’s request for confirmation on her running for office or not.

    “I will make sure you are informed when either decision I make is formalized,” Kottwitz said in response to a Coloradoan question about whether she planned to run in the fall.

    Uh, somebody needs to let Mrs. Kottwitz know that the election is in four months, not four years. She might want to get to thinking about that a little harder.  

  4. among the national media, and by extension people who watch the national media. A narrative has been written that the tea party candidate will automatically win in November against an incumbent because national polling shows anti-incumbent sentiment, anger with the way things are going, and the usual cyclical win for the party not currently in the White House.

    Unfortunately for those bird’s-eye-view prognosticators, they have managed to ignore one of the most important phrases (probably a cliche at this point) in electoral politics, and that is the fact that all politics is local. Here’s how I apply that to the 2010 midterm elections:

    1. You can’t just run anybody against anybody and think that if they have the quality of not being the incumbent they will automatically win.

    2. You have to run quality candidates against quality candidates. If you run a crappy candidate against someone who is even remotely good at their job, then you lower your chances of winning that particular race demonstrably.

    3. You can’t just run a “Tea Party” candidate in this climate and expect them to win automatically. Voters might be angry, but they’re not going to vote for someone who says things that are in direct conflict with the values that the voters in a particular district hold (it’s why I’ve been so confused by people falling all over themselves to be called tea partiers. That might work in the GOP US Senate primary but it’s not going to work in a state house race where people are less concerned about ideology than whether or not the person knows about the issues that affect them.)

    4. You certainly can’t expect to win without running an all-out, 100% committed campaign.

    Of course, I’m not really any smarter than the national prognosticators. My local prognostication might turn out to be completely wrong, but somehow I don’t think so.

    Bottom line: this might be a weird political year, but the basic rules of campaigning still apply. You can’t ignore them and expect to win by default.

    1. Voters aren’t stupid and in the end they do consider the candidates and neither party can just run anybody. The voters have a sixth sense about who is and isn’t a good politician.

      1. For evidence I offer: The presidential election of 2004.  Also, electing reps and senators that have ideologies that only hurt the ordinary voter and favor our overlords, the corporations.  

    2. then Alvin Greene happened.

      WHT happened there?  Every interview I have seen has people admitting they “knew” people who voted for him and had no idea who he was.

      1. at the party level as the Democratic nominee in that race. He’s actually the perfect example, and not an exception. He’s just the Democratic counterexample to the numerous GOP/tea party examples.

  5. I live in the next district over (west side of Fort Collins) and was at the county assembly. Nobody had decided to run yet at the assembly, and a lot of people wanted Ray Martinez to run. He declined however, and my (libertarian) friend in the CSU math department (grad student) made a good speech and was considering running. If he had run, I think he could have had a chance at winning as he would have had a significant portion of the college vote – he’s a popular guy with students. However, he realized that it just wasn’t possible to do that with what he wanted to do in grad school, so he bowed out. The GOP however is trying to run someone in every district similar to what Dems did the last cycle, so they can pick up a few seats on fluke elections. Do I think she has any chance against Kefalas? No. But there are five months left to go before the election and I’m glad the GOP has someone on the ballot just in case.

    1. I think it has some merit IF the candidate actually campaigns. I’m sure a certain fraction of voters always vote against the incumbent, particularly so this year. But, to quote RSB above:

      4. You certainly can’t expect to win without running an all-out, 100% committed campaign.

        1. If Alvin Greene wins the general election, then I’ll say you were right, but he’s not going to. He’s a perfect example of this. I wasn’t talking about internal party politics, just general election races.

  6. Nobody cares about these races. It is a GOP year, we could nominate Mickey Mouse and get Rep. Mouse. You know it.

    Way to pick on a working mother too.

    1. What does her being a working mother have to do with it?  If you’re suggesting that working moms can’t be expected to show up for a majority of meetings they’re scheduled to attend, or to put in effort to procure a serious job they’ve applied for, then no: I know a zillion working moms who (a) don’t flake out on a majority of meetings they’re supposed to attend, and (b) don’t flake out on putting in effort to apply for an important job.

      BTW, “warrior”: any more hot intel on whom Sarah Palin is going to endorse?

    2. Actually, you might be partially correct.  It’s obvious that a lot of Republican legislators have DNA in common with Mickey Mouse.  

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