BREAKING: Amy Stephens Being Courted To Challenge Udall

FRIDAY UPDATE: The Hill's Alexandra Jaffe reports on our scoop:

According to local news site, Republican strategists in the state are urging [Stephens] to run in a race that currently lacks any likely GOP contenders…

The purple tint of Colorado has given some Republicans hope they'd be able to mount a challenge against Udall in 2014, but he maintains high popularity in the state and has posted strong fundraising numbers so far this year, sitting on $2.5 million for his reelection fight at the close of the first quarter. 


Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Focus on the Family).

Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Focus on the Family).

The so-far fruitless search for a Republican to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall next year continues. We last reported that GOP Rep. Cory Gardner will not run against Udall, leaving the field open for wide-ranging speculation about various possible opponents–including former Rep. Bob Beauprez, Treasurer Walker Stapleton, former Gov. Bill Owens, and even freshman state Sen. Owen Hill. None of these candidates seem particularly resonant, but that's the state of the troubled GOP bench these days.

Sources tell us this bleak picture may be about to change: former Colorado House Majority Leader Amy Stephens of Colorado Springs is being courted by GOP strategists to run against Udall. Stephens is a former Focus on the Family public policy "specialist," who wrote two abstinence-only sex-ed school curriculaSex, Lies & the Truth, and No Apologies. As House Majority Leader, Rep. Stephens played a major role in the killing of the 2012 civil unions bill, which without extraordinary action by Republican leadership would have passed with bipartisan support.

Stephens' generally solid right wing credentials are somewhat complicated by her on-again-off-again sponsorship of the legislation that created Colorado's new health insurance exchange, a major component of "Obamacare" nonetheless favored by many business interests. It will be interesting to see, should Stephens decide to run for U.S. Senate, how that plays with the GOP base. To her credit, she did survive a primary challenge from Rep. Marsha Looper that was largely based on Stephens' support for this bill.

Bottom line: Stephens has an enormous amount of wedge-issue baggage, and on balance there's little to suggest there she would be any more competitive against Sen. Udall than any of the other names that have been mentioned (or already declined). That said, her resume, institutional support on the Christian right, and relatively clean slate in terms of public opinion–this is a nice way of saying she has no name ID–could make the race more interesting than, say, Bob Beauprez would make it.

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    Is this the bombshell candidate Arapadope promised? Should be humorous

  2. The realist says:

    I just can't believe it!  Sen Randy Lee Baumgardner can't get no respect, even when he wears a semi-automatic piston on his belt in a friendly setting.  C'mon, he told the Denver Post he was "considering his options."  He's waiting by the phone . . .


  3. JeffcoBlue says:

    Amy! Amy! This is too awesome.

    I'm a "serious candidate!"

  4. JeffcoBlue says:

    Let me repeat, the possibility of Amy Stephens running for Senate against Mark Udall has made my day.

  5. Not Dame Edna says:


  6. MADCO says:

    Sje's a mortal lock. In a landslide.

  7. AmyRocks says:

    Typical lefty spin from a lefty blog. The truth is, Amy Stephens is a problem solver and a reformer who knows how to reach across the aisle to get things done. If it wasn't for Amy, there would be no health insurance exchange in Colorado.

    Why dont you report the facts instead of smearing a good person and leader?

    • ElliotFladen says:

      Given that Amy was the one who risked her neck (for better or worse) to do healthcare exchanges, the eagerness that some (who probably love the idea of the exchanges) here to leap at the chance to crucify her is…well…"interesting".

      • DavidThi808 says:

        I don't think Amy can beat Mark. But I do think she's one of the best candidates the GOP has to run against him. She's a strong enough candidate that Mark Udall will have to work in the election.

        As to the exchanges, true but that's politics.

    • BlueCat says:

      What facts in this diary do you take issue with.  What are you calling a smear? Remember, it's not a smear if it's an accurate account of something the person in question did or said. 

      Also this is not a newspaper. This is a forum for the exchange of political info and opinion. The opinion expressed here is that, all things considered, Amy Stephens probably wouldn't be any more competitive with Udall than other potential candidates mentioned.  If you disagree with that, try explaining why you think that's an incorrect analysis of her chances instead of just throwing an emotional hissy fit.

    • horseshit GOP front group says:

      I would be remiss if I didn't comment on this whole "exchange" issue. It is a not so well kept secret in GOP circles that Amy's work on getting a health exchange in Colorado coincided with her brief, albeit fierce, bout with sanity.  Amy has fought courageously with independent thinking in the past, but I have to say her current FoTF regimen of medication and prayer is working rather well. Rest assured from now on there will be rigid adherence to dogma, and none of these incidents will occur in the future.


    • Gilpin Guy says:

      If she runs on that accomplishment in a Republican Primary she's toast.

      • Urban Snowshoer says:

        Gilpin Guy wrote: “If she runs on that accomplishment in a Republican Primary she's toast.”

        Romney’s  biggest accomplishment as Governor of Massachusetts was coming up with a plan, which the Affordable Care Act was modeled on,  to provide universal insurance coverage  However,  his party hated the ACA and Romney had to distance himself from it—I don’t like Romney (and didn’t vote for him) but I will give him credit for his accomplishments on health insurance.  


        I can almost see a similar scenario panning out with State Representative Stevens. Her own party will pillory her for supporting the exchanges, however inconsistently, and she’ll have to say she didn’t really support the exchanges after all—not to mention taking some extreme positions to ensure the turnout of the base. When the general election comes around she’ll have to try to reconcile the loony positions she took to get the support (and turnout) of base voters with positions that are conducive to winning non-primary voters.


        I’m skeptical that Colorado will ever be a solidly blue state—there will probably always be districts that are reliably Republican. However, until the GOP can be competitive in the Denver-Boulder metro area, they will have a difficult time amassing enough votes to win statewide elections.    

  8. Curmudgeon says:

    Yes, yes, they're "crucifying" another GOP member. With all the crucifixions taking place, how do you silly bastards keep all your messiahs straight?  At least Democrats are only accused of having one (you know…."The One", "Yer Liberal Messiah", etc etc etc…); it seems you can't swing a dead cat without hitting yet another martyr. Who knew the GOP were polytheistic?

  9. Gray in Mountains says:

    Stephens was instrumental in getting exchanges when we did. Had she not done so the Ds would have had to do it this year.

    I could never vote for anyone affiliated with FoF until and unless they would completely repudiate that organizatio which has sought to harm so many. Similarly, I could never vote for a Klan member who did not do the same.

  10. Voyageur says:

    I'm with David.   Amy is able, articulate and energetic.   She'd be an underdog against Udall but would at least make it interesting and force him to make some stands.   Right now, she's the most attractive R name I've seen bandied about.


  11. Harley says:

    Just a thought/note for Alexandra Jaffe of the The Hill, the tine of Colorado purple is a blueish purple—NOT a reddish purple.

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