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February 02, 2024 02:47 PM UTC

Doug is Seriously Contemplating a "Re-Bruce" for Colorado Springs

  • 5 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

If you had spent any time at all trying to think up something that would make the 2024 election cycle for Colorado Republicans even more bizarre, this is probably what you would have come up with…

Doug Bruce in his booking photo, circa 2010.

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Doug Bruce, the author of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, is considering joining the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

“I am strongly leaning toward becoming a candidate,” Bruce, a former state lawmaker from Colorado Springs and El Paso County commissioner, told Colorado Politics.

The anti-tax advocate said he plans to decide within weeks whether to jump in a primary field that has swelled since Lamborn’s surprising announcement last month that he would not seek a 10th term in Congress…

…An enduring and polarizing voice in state politics for decades, Bruce wrote and promoted 1992’s voter-approved TABOR amendment, which sets limits on government revenue and requires votes for most tax increases. He was censured in 2008 by the state House for kicking a press photographer at the Capitol and served 104 days in jail following a 2012 convictions on charges of felony tax evasion, filing a false tax return and trying to influence a public servant. He served 180 days in 2016 after he was found guilty of violating his probation. Bruce maintains his innocence.

So…apparently Doug Bruce is still alive. We haven’t heard much from TABOR’s Daddy lately, and that’s been a pleasant development.

After making a living as a slum lord in and around Colorado Springs, Bruce was elected as an El Paso County Commissioner in 2004, where he was often the sole voice of opposition on a five-member board made up entirely of Republicans. During his one term as Commissioner, Bruce employed his special talent of alienating everyone he comes in contact with; he left the office after somehow winning a vacancy appointment in 2007 to serve in the State House of Representatives. Bruce made a big deal out of postponing his swearing-in ceremony so that he could take office and still be able to serve a full four terms in the House; this raw power grab eventually led to the passage of a bill that very session requiring legislators to be sworn in within 14 days of their selection. Later that session, Bruce was censured for his actions in literally kicking a Rocky Mountain News photographer who had gotten too close to him on the House Floor.

Yeah, cool guy.

“Like myself, it would be great to have another Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights champion in the race to highlight our leadership on defending taxpayers,” said State GOP Chair/CO-05 candidate Dave Williams.

Bruce engaged in all sorts of pointless antics during his brief time in the state legislature, including refusing to sign on as a cosponsor to a resolution recognizing Military and Veterans Appreciation Day (Bruce claimed he was opposed to all “ceremonial” resolutions); and referring to illegal immigrants as “illiterate peasants.” Bruce was defeated by Mark Waller in a Republican Primary in 2008, in part because Waller enjoyed the support of many prominent Republican elected officials who flat-out disliked Bruce (not dissimilar to how well-known Republicans have been speaking out against Congressperson Lauren Boebert in recent months).

Bruce is also getting up there in years; he’d be 75 if elected to Congress in 2025. While he does get credit for creating TABOR, that’s sort of like being known for inventing herpes. Republicans talk glowingly about TABOR in broad terms, but those who have had to deal with its restrictions while trying to govern have been less complimentary. There is a reason that NO OTHER STATE has ever enacted something similar to TABOR. Colorado Republicans, in fact, often publicly discourage their counterparts in other states from even considering the idea.

“I’m a trumpet,” says Doug Bruce (no, seriously)

So what is bringing Bruce out of the slumlord business for another round of campaigning? As Luning reports:

“My view is, frankly, I think our country is in big trouble,” Bruce said. “I’m a trumpet — some of these other people may be lukewarm trumpets — and I don’t like saying it, but if we don’t elect Trump, things are going to get a lot worse in the next four years under Biden.” [Pols emphasis]

Bruce said that as a student of American history and presidential administrations, he regretfully considers Biden “the worst president ever.”

“I am ashamed of what his administration has done to torture Donald Trump, and I think we’ve go to do better,” Bruce added, noting that his experience as a prosecutor leads him to believe the raft of charges faced by the former president are “contrived.”

“They’re all crap, to be mild about it,” he said.

As we’ve said many times in this space, weird things can happen in crowded Primary Elections — even weird enough to put Doug Bruce in Congress. When he ran for the State House in 2008, Bruce he refused to take donations — probably because he wouldn’t have received many — and self-funded his campaign. If he can and will put a few hundred thousand dollars into a campaign for Congress, why not give it a shot?

Comments

5 thoughts on “Doug is Seriously Contemplating a “Re-Bruce” for Colorado Springs

  1. It seems an interesting test — which sort of "Republican" would be selected by the CO-05 Republican voters.

    The Big Line isn't yet showing much "momentum"

    • (R) Dave Williams (20%) State Republican Party Chair lost to Lamborn in 2022. We’d expect him to run again now.
    • (R) Doug Bruce (20%) TABOR daddy sounds like he’s going to run to replace the old Doug.
    • (R) Bob Gardner (20%) Longtime state lawmaker known for his never-ending speeches is taking his shot.
    • (R) Jeff Crank (20%) Talk radio host lost to Lamborn in both 2006 and 2008. Third time’s the charm!
    • (R) Paul Lundeen (10%)↓ State Senate Minority Leader will certainly kick the tires.

    Doug Bruce winning the Republican nomination might be one of the FEW ways a Democrat would win the general election in CO-05. Anyone know which Democrat is going to jump in?

  2. Just a side note; everyone remembers Bruce kicking the photographer from the Rocky, but no one ever mentions his name. It was Javier Manzano. I just went and hunted down the original story from the Post archives. Here’s the link  https://www.denverpost.com/2008/01/14/bruce-kicks-photographer-takes-oath/ 

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