GOP Contingency Plans Emerging?

We’re getting credible word of some interesting last-minute developments ahead of Tuesday’s primary. We want to be clear that this is preliminary, and (of course) dependent on what happens in the election. But it is based on good authority from high-level GOP sources.

There is some thinking in GOP circles that gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis could indeed be persuaded to exit the race following a victory on Tuesday–if he has a say in his successor, and if he were provided with a ‘suitable’ career landing. If that happens, the story we’ve heard is that Jane Norton would very much like to be selected as a replacement gubernatorial candidate.

Sources are clear that this does not mean Norton is anticipating a loss in her Senate primary against Ken Buck. What we’re talking about here is strictly a contingency plan, but one that Norton is sufficiently interested in pursuing to have started putting out feelers. As you know, of course, polls do show Buck with an enduring lead after weeks of hard-nosed campaigning.

What’s truly ironic about this situation is the person emerging as her chief competitor for the selection, Norton campaign manager Josh Penry, remains very much interested by all accounts. Obviously, the vacancy committee who would appoint either of them–itself dependent on a decision from McInnis that others insist he will never make if he wins the primary–remains the biggest “if” in a situation with several unknowns.

A poll follows–file all of this in the same place you’ve been putting those “Romanoff for Mayor” rumors (but in the “much more likely” category) and we’ll see what happens Tuesday.

Who would make a better replacement GOP gubernatorial candidate?

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113 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. StrykerK2 says:

    Now I’m just curious who you’ve been talking to.  I heard something very similar.  If McInnis does win, it will be damn funny to watch Norton and Penry turn on each other (quietly and behind the scenes of course)

    • I’m having a problem believing the unnamed source.

      First, I think Norton and Penry expect to win, but because I don’t have access to their polls. Who knows?

      Second, I don’t think Penry has the name recognition nor the wealth to ramp up a campaign quickly. Maybe a Wadhams could pull it off for him, but it seems unlikely.

      Third, if Norton loses, could she rebound fast enough to make a credible run? Of all the possible candidates, however, she has the staff in place and probably could raise some money. Most important, she has better name recognition than everyone but, maybe, Hickenlooper. So she wouldn’t need as much money as a Penry or a Wiens to try to catch up to HIck.

      After his press conference, I asked Tancredo if he could support Norton if she won the primary. He gave a wry and funny “yes.” But would he drop out for Norton or Penry?

      Only if he thought they could beat Hickenlooper or had a better chance of beating HIck than he has himself. A lot will depend on how Tanc’s fundraising is going. That’s a big mystery at the moment.

      Intuition tells me Tanc wouldn’t step down for Norton because he doesn’t like her that well. And he would’t step down for Penry, because he has neither Tanc’s fundraising ability nor his name I.D., good or bad.

      Interesting thread, but I’m not convinced Coloradopols’ source really knows. The source may be just trying to rile things up for whatever reasons.

      Never fall in love with a stock or fall in love with a politician. They’ll disappoint you every time.

    • MADCO says:

      Because Maes is going to win- and he’s not going to drop out.  He’s a mission to save us from the bicyclists.

    • gertie97 says:

      First, it’s a big assumption that McInnis would drop out. He’s awfully stubborn, but perhaps a job with enough bucks might entice him.

      Norton would be damaged goods as the Senate primary loser, if in fact she loses.

      Penry wouldn’t have a prayer against Hick. Sure, he’s fast on his feet, well-spoken and has a large fan club in Mesa County. If he’d been able to expand that throughout the state, he wouldn’t have dropped out to begin with.

  2. harrydoby says:

    If Buck wins decisively over Norton, then that rejection by GOP voters would weaken her appeal in the Gubernatorial race.

    Naturally, if Norton won the Senatorial primary, then Penry’s enlistment would be simpler for the GOP vacancy committee.  McInnis couldn’t be too displeased with that outcome as they seem to have made an earlier pact.  

    Perhaps that ‘suitable’ career landing would be something in the “Penry Administration”, as if that’ll ever happen against Hick.

  3. Pam Bennett says:

    Besides having the Republican hierarchy supporting her, she has Pat “leatherman” Boone endorsing her.

  4. bjwilson83 says:

    just like she was to the Lt. Gov position. She’s never won an election in her life; she only knows how to work the establishment through her lobbyist skills. Penry of course would love it since the party originally forced him out of the race, but he’s too damaged after the negativity this campaign. Oh, sweet irony.

    • wade norris says:

      who else does that sound like?

      …would love to be appointed

      …never won an election

      • Voyageur says:

        who would love, love, love, to be appointed to something (SOS. Senate, lt. gov, postmaster in Swink, etc. ) and who never won a statewide election.   Thanks for bringing that up, Wade!

        • wade norris says:

          but Bennet is the one who has never been elected and only appointed.

          • Teeter says:

            subtle much?  perhaps you think everyone is just an idiot.  good outreach strategy there–vote for my guy, I think you’re an idiot.  

          • Voyageur says:

            I keep forgetting.  Tell me, what was it?  I didn’t realize that Sore Loser was a statewide office!  Or was it head whiner?

            • State Line says:

              Don’t mean just you, Voyageur but Wade too – and the various vituperative red meat eatin’ others on both sides of the Dem primary.

              Such big macho men, you’re all in a circle dance to the death.

              Given the VERY late electoral hour, it’s all pretty pathetic to observe….

              • Voyageur says:

                The horror, the horror

                • State Line says:


                  • Voyageur says:

                    I could put most of your dumbass posts into the Sig Line of the Month contest.

                    • State Line says:

                      My broader point is that I sure hope all of you Dems can learn to play nicey-nice come Wednesday morning….

                      People who use words like ‘dumbass’ only reflect back upon themselves – supporting my original point.  

                    • Voyageur says:

                      nothing to our community other than your repeated claims that you are far superior to the rest of us, I think that calling your comments “dumbass” was being quite charitable on my part.  

                    • State Line says:

                      I just tend to prefer reasoned discourse – leavened with occasional humor – over meanspirited, thin-skinned,  juvenile ‘commentary’.

                      I stand by my remark re your choice of language.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      reasoned discourse – leavened with occasional humor

                       I can’t recall one time when you have.

                      If you read my latest diary, “Give us our community back” you will find much of both.

                        So since you are one who only sneers at the efforts of others while offering nothing constructive of his own, I think the question of whether your comments are “dumbass” is settled.  

                        I’ll let you have the last word, I’ve wasted quite enough time on you.


                    • State Line says:

                      along with the occasional misfire.

                      Happy to have distracted your white-hot anger albeit briefly from the campaign matters that so plainly enervate your better angels.

                      Have a lovely evening!


                    • Gilpin Guy says:

                      grab your wine spritzer and arugula salad and head over to  I don’t remember anyone forcing you to make snide and juvenile comments that are beneath your mental capabilities.  My defense is that I was born a juvenile and it seems to fit my writing style.

                      It is unfortunate that the Democratic primary devolved into petty personal attacks but that’s was the result of one mans decision.  I would have loved to see a rational debate on energy or environmental or immigration policy but absent a clear commitment to run a positive issues oriented campaign the next best thing was to stand up to the Democratic Tea Party and gleefully throw feces along with everyone else.

                      Sorry we didn’t meet your entertainment expectations but I found out that I can wash off.  Wednesday will still be a time for some to lick their wounds but you can bet we have learned a ton about how Republicans campaign and will be seasoned with exotic expletives for the general.  

                    • State Line says:

                      (yes, a Bennet supporter but hardly rah-rah) it seems to me the Dem campaign has been far more vicious than the Republicans’. You mentioned having learned a ton about how Republicans campaign, while I think the Buck vs Norton has been relatively tame…..

                      And…..are you saying that, having originally preferred “rational debates”, you’ll be content merely “throwing feces” in the General Election?

                      Sad if true. I hope you won’t completely give up on the former…

                    • Voyageur says:

                      that the Norton/Buck fight was relatively civil compared to Romanoff/Bennet.  But BJWilson said that was only on this board, which he called a “left wing” board.  He cited a few right-wing boards where the Norton/Buck war rages as furiously as R/B does here.

                        So I guess I go back to my point a few days ago, that primaries are the most bitter because the differences are so small.

                        AS Henry Kissinger said

                      Academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small.,

                        Kissing did NOT originate that quote, btw.  He quoted hte guy who did originate it and since he was famous and the other guy wasn’t, everybody quoted Kissinger.  Maybe the original author was Scott McInnis.

                    • State Line says:

                      what is said on blogs per se.

                      More interested in the ‘real’ campaign as it plays out to the broader electorate – and out there it definitely seems to be more toxic on the Dem side than R side.

                      (I wouldn’t suppose CPols reaches even 1/100th of 1% of Colorado Dem primary voters, so the tenor here has about zero impact on the campaigns generally, it’s all inside baseball.)

                      As for Scottie, I doubt he’s ever had an original thought – other than the fancy that an ** alleged ** gift of elk meat constitutes a charitable contribution for tax purposes. That was a pretty good one!

                    • Voyageur says:

                      than you think.

                        We’re nearing a million unique page views a month.  Granted, 137,813 of them are shill posts by Stryker2K, but that still leaves a lot of real people.  Given that primary voters are more motivated than general voters, I’d be willing to guess we get about ten percent of them.   And those tend to be opinion makers whose views influence others.


                    • State Line says:

                      to substantiate my far lower estimate either.

                      The question I suppose is how many unique ‘viewers’ does Pols get. Not page views which I don’t think is especially important in itself.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

                      Democrats: 245,477/ 817,458/ 30%

                      Republicans: 269,646/ 855,667/ 32%

                      as of Friday.   Deducting frequent fliers like moiself and lets say we get 100,000 actual viewers a month.  Since practically all our folks vote say that works out to, say, 60,000 Democrats and 40,000


                        That would mean about a quarter of the votes already cast were from Pols viewers, without even counting the opinionmaker role of such views.  Even if I’m off by a factor of three, that hits my ten percent or so estimate.

                         Don’t underrate new media.  The Romanoff campaign has obviously launched a major shill operation on this site (mostly volunteer, but rather obviously coordinated.)  I personally think its been counterproductive for them.  But they wouldn’t be putting volunteer time into cpols at the expense of gotv if they didn’t think the message here is important.

                        And don’t forget Joe Trippi is part of Team Romanoff.  Read his “The Revolution will not be televised” for an insight intot he role of new media in politics.


                    • State Line says:

                      1) Unless I missed something, you’re pulling the 100k discrete readers/month figure out of thin air, no?

                      2) Who knows haw many times/month each reader actually reads Pols – and WHAT they read while here? And what they THINK about what they read while here?

                      3) You’re comparing your 100k readers vs ballots returned thus far. Obviously, with each subsequent ballot returned – and election day vote cast – the Pols reader:total voter % figure trends down.

                      I seriously doubt that 100,000 primary voters are reading CPols monthly – what’s that, 3% of the state’s population? (No calculator handy.)

                      And tend to feel (admittedly, based on posted commments) that it’s a far smaller, more incestuous audience than that.

                      Just my guess…..but you guys are the ones with the data.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      Sites with lots of repeat visitors list page views. Sites with few repeat visitors list unique visitors.

                      Every time someone goes to another diary, that’s a page view. Every Time someone comes back to read the new comments in a diary they read before, that’s a page view. So many (most?) Pols regulars will view 10 – 40 pages/day or 300 – 1,200/month.

                      If we say 500 page views/month per regular, that’s 2,000 regulars. I think that’s a more likely measure of the number of regulars here.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      Because in a fairly low-traffic site like mine, unique visitors is more accurate.

                      I have at least four search engines spidering my site every day.  That only shows up in the log as four unique visitors, but it shows up as thousands of page views and skews the page-view statistics.

                    • jpsandscl says:

                      missed chance for the plug? Everyone else does it, why not you? I’m curious…

                    • jpsandscl says:

                      is it rude even when someone else asks?

                    • Ralphie says:

                      So I’m not going to do it myself.

                    • jpsandscl says:

                      I’ve updated my profile with my e-mail address. You could send it off line if it was worth it to you. I truly am curious.

                      No biggie to me either way. Do as you see fit.

                    • jpsandscl says:

                      why didn’t you just say so?


                    • jpsandscl says:

                      I was just kidding…

                    • State Line says:

                      utter lack of data, it’s based on animal spirits.

                      If we look at a total primary turnout of, say, 750,000 that would put the Pols reader:voter ratio between 1/4 and 1/3 of 1%.

                      (All nonsense figures at this time of course.)

                      In any event, Pols’ salience will be even less in the general election than in the primary. But still a valuable forum for discussing the electoral/campaign process.  

                    • Voyageur says:

                      hit everything, including every word exchanged by BJ and the polster formerly refered to as Steve Harvey, there’s another batch that visits once a week or so.   A 100,000 of those, hitting once a week and not going to diaries, would total 400,000 unique page views- a month,about half the total.  

                      obviously, we’re all whistling in the dark.  Maybe pols can give us an estimate of the number of actual bodies that visit this site at least once a month.

                    • Colorado Pols says:

                      But if this were “Price is Right,” he’d lose by a hair. We had about 97,000 unique visitors in July.

                    • That is a lot of page views for any blog.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      I’ve got damn few of them left on my head;-)

                    • jpsandscl says:

                      (not by you V, but by others), I can assure you there is no coordination of the comments coming from Romanoff supporters that I am aware of. It is very Will Rogers-esque in that way I think… (“I belong to no organized party…”)

                    • Voyageur says:

                      that OldBenKenobi and MikeD1970 are well up in the Romanoff high command.  Don’t want to go naming names lest I join Steve Harvey on Square State, but OldBen’s writing style is very similar to a longtime friend and acqaintance of mine and there is a 40ish and well respected political figure locally who goes by the name Mike and whose last name begins with D.  There posts are well organized but obviously coordinated with main campaign themes.  Stryker2k is a madman and I suspect they wish he’d go away, because he offends everybody especially with his snarl that he won’t vote for Bennet under any circumstances, the last thing they need to hear if they have any hope of winning tuesday and reuniting in November.  As to the rest, the group think results from hanging arounde headquarters and/or swapping a few brews and resenting the injustice of Bennet/pols.  

                    • jpsandscl says:


                      as a low level vol on several campaigns, I only know people tangentially. I still have no idea who you are and I sometimes think I’m the only one here who doesn’t! (and no, I am not fishing. I’d just as soon not know so if we ever do meet some day, we can start on fresh grounds.)

                      And I can certainly understand the mind meld a few brews can have…

          • MADCO says:

            Let’s have a nice diary form you Wednesday evening.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Hick’s going to win. But appointing Jane Norton to the position would be a big F.U. to the party base. Talk about discouraging Republicans from voting in the general…

      I keep saying, Dick Wadhams deserves Democrat of the Year from the state party.

      • Voyageur says:

        and in ther lege to have a failed establishment candidate for Senate drafted as Gov. candidate.   But it won’t happen.  Josh Penry is the one (and has the ties to McInnis to make the deal a little sweeter to the plagiarist.)

      • bjwilson83 says:

        It would really put some wind beneath the sails of Tancredo. The GOP could save face by having a gov. candidate while giving Tancredo a shot at beating the Looper.

    • bjwilson83 says:

      Leave it to Polsters to turn a comment about Republican failure into a demolition derby inside the Democrat Party. But I do agree with wade, the comparison with Bennet is apt. Let’s hope he wins the primary.

  5. Ah Choo says:

    Quite a commentary on the shambles of the GOP’s Senate primary that these clowns would even be actively angling to be the designated pooperscooper candidate after the McInnis debacle. Hickenlooper is on track to lap Ritter’s astounding win margin in 2006.  

  6. Interlocken Loop says:

    Is he in on the deal too?

  7. Voyageur says:

    and emerge the Senate nominee seems almost insulting…but its also a sign of just how desperate the GOP is this year.  Like the Palestinians, the Colorado

    Republican Party never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

      But we may see it…as battered as the Republican Party is, I can’t see it dropping to the point of nominating Tin Foil Danny Maes.

  8. Ralphie says:

    You didn’t let us choose “none of the above.”

  9. Ah Choo says:

    Is that Scott McInnis, the “Jobs Governor” billboard guy, is worried more about his bank account than anything else. He’s holding his party hostage until they dig up some country club yahoo that will give the guy a paycheck.

    True to form, Scooter!  

  10. blythesspirit says:

    Is the republican potential candidate field so weak that they have to rehash failed Senate candidates and drop out from earlier in the govenor’s race?

    • Voyageur says:

      And I don’t think any Republican, except maybe Tin Foil Danny Maes, is crazy enough to think they will win that way.  They want to run a respectable enough loss that it doesn’t trigger an anchor effect costing them losses in legislative and local races because of depressed turnout.

  11. abraham says:

    OK, I grant that the GOP has become an inbred genetically inferior mutant organization, but can anyone seriously be talking about having McInnis step aside for the loser in the US Senate primary?

    This is starting to sound Old Testament.  Scott begat Dan, who then begat Tom – the First, who then banished Scott to the Wilderness where Scott begat Jane, who had the good sense to be born into a political family headed by the Prophet Charlie, who begat Scott.  Then from the Wilderness arose Tom the 2nd, who was begat by Jane and Ken but banished to toil in the desert to arise to lead his people forth and save them from Scott,Tom – the first, Ken, Charlie and Jane, but who begat Dick who was banished by the Tribe to appear endlessly on Bill O’Reilly with Dick Morris forever to await the second coming of Armstrong the Valiant, who begat everyone in the Tribe who is employed by the Tribe.

  12. Republican 36 says:

    Where is the money and other resources going to come from to finance and support Norton or Penry in a general election campaign. It only makes sense if the Republicans can find the money to make a new candidate at least somewhat competitive. Whether its Norton or Penry just putting one of their names on the ballot is meaningless unless resources can be found to support a campaign. I can’t imagine, under this scenario, either one could raise substantial amounts of money or attract top flight campaign staffers.  

    • Voyageur says:

      they just want to spare themselves the total embarrassment of a McInnis or Tin Foil Danny Maes on the ticket.  a buffoon at the top can really depress turnout, thus hurting Republican candidates further dfown the ticket.

      • Republican 36 says:

        there will still be a negative impact on Republicans down the ticket, although it may not be as great. Maes and McInnis are damaged but just putting another name on the ballot won’t help save the day.

        • Voyageur says:

          just not help enough.  The switch a life body for the idiot idea is strictly an exercise in mitigating damage.   What a pass the once proud Colorado Republican Party has come to.

          This makes Holtzman/Beauprez look like a clash of philosopher Kings!

    • Colorado Pols says:

      As we’ve written before, Republicans just want someone who won’t be drag on the ticket. Norton or Penry can’t beat Hickenlooper, but unlike Maes or McInnis, they won’t completely cripple the GOP Senate nominee or other down-ballot candidates.

  13. marilou says:

    I would not vote for Josh Penry for anything, ever.  Period.  He will do anything and say anything to get what he wants.

  14. It's Me says:

    Problem is, Hank has already said he’s not interested.

    And the same problem arises: he can’t self fund.  

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