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October 29, 2007 07:02 PM UTC

Tancredo's Out; What's Next?

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Rep. David Balmer is already out. He posted a comment below to that effect.

Now that Rep. Tom Tancredo has offically announced his plans to not run for re-election in CD-6, what’s next? Or, more accurately, who is next?

We’ve updated The Big Line, but expect to see a lot of changes in the coming months. Republican voters outnumber Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin in CD-6, which is nearly the same margin as the GOP leads in CD-5. While CD-6 isn’t nearly as naturally conservative as CD-5, it is one of the richest congressional districts in the entire country and the GOP candidate will have a decisive advantage in the general election. This is also a huge GOP prize, because the winner will likely hold the seat for as long as they want (or at least until redistricting).

With no known or obvious Democrats to consider at this point, here’s an early look at the potential candidates on the Republican side:

  • State Sen. Tom Wiens
  • State Sen. Ted Harvey
    These two are in the top tier, because both have been preparing for a CD-6 run for months. Wiens has more personal money to draw from, but Harvey’s Senate district takes up most of CD-6 already. Harvey is one of the more conservative members of the state legislature and will likely seek to establish himself quickly as the most conservative of the Republican candidates.

  • Wil Armstrong
    Armstrong has been making noise about running for a long time, and if he does, he’ll trade heavily on the name of his father: Former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong. But would that be enough to get him through a primary? That probably depends on how many candidates ultimately enter the race; the more the merrier for Armstrong.

  • Secretary of State Mike Coffman
    Coffman really wants to run for something more prestigious than SOS, but he’s in a tough spot here because the State Republican Party really doesn’t want him to leave. Republicans will likely hold onto this seat because of the huge voter registration advantage, so they don’t need Coffman to run. If Coffman did run for CD-6 and won, then he would have to give up his SOS seat…which would promptly be filled by Gov. Bill Ritter, who would select a Democrat as the next SOS. Republicans don’t want to give up one seat for another seat that they should already be able to keep, but ultimately that may not stop Coffman; this is probably too good of an opportunity for him to pass up.

  • House Minority Leader David Balmer
    Balmer would like to move up, but the field may be too crowded for him. Still, don’t discount Balmer’s fundraising ability; if he could get some good financial commitments to run, he might take the leap.

  • Jane Norton
    The former Lt. Governor is always rumored to be running for something, and this would be as good an opportunity as anything.

  • Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer
    Tauer may not live in the district, but that doesn’t really matter (ask Bob Beauprez about that).

  • Comments

    68 thoughts on “Tancredo’s Out; What’s Next?

    1. That’s a silly comment — by definition, no state senate seat can take up more than one-fifth of a congressional district, as there are 35 senate seats and only seven congressional seats, and they are all drawn on the basis of population.  So, at best, Harvey’s senate district takes up a fifth of CD-6, which is decidly less than “most”.

    2. * Just for entering the race each contestant will get a free bruising primary where various powers above them wrestle for control of a fractured party. Are you Wadhams pick? No? Then get ready for millions of dollars in smear money being spent against you by members of your own party. Are you in the Beauprez or the Holtzman camp? Well then you should know that it was Ritter that took this district. Good luck.

      * Then you get to go against a centrist Dem funded by the DCCC. They stayed out of this race last cycle and a complete unknown and very progressive candidate made a good run of it. They were waiting for this to be an open race and now it is. Centrist Dems like Joe Rice and Ken Salazar have done very well in this district, and Tancredo’s wins were built in precincts that actually voted Bill Ritter – Tom Tancredo – Morgan Carroll. This is now the best Dem pick-up opportunity in Colorado, and while Pols says you will have $ here, you will be fighting the focused $ of a lighter primary on the other side and the money from the uncontested general elections in CD1, CD2, CD3, and CD7.

      * If you navigate your primary and the general election, you will then be the newest freshman in a minority party in a minority House and Senate, and potentially beneath a Democratic President. The perks and pork are not going to you. You will be making less of an impact then you could in the private sector and a hell of a lot less money. Get ready to have the seat ‘as long as you like’ because it won’t be long before more and more Republicans announce their retirements. You will get in just in time to be listed amongst the old school losers instead of the young revolutionaries that will try to win things back. When they all run against the Dems by talking about term limits, change, and checks and balances, your pathetic career will be what they use for contrast.

      Good Luck!

      1. ….I wouldn’t count on it.  Joe Rice would probably be the most serious Dem to run in C.D. 6, but I don’t think that the state House Dems would want to jeopardize H.D. 38 which could easily revert back to its previous proclivities.

        1. I don’t know the registration numbers but CD-6 is almost as Republican as CD-5, is it not? We already saw what happens when a well-supported centrist Dem runs against a whacked-out right winger there, and in a good Democratic year to boot. Not to mention that CD-5 was ground zero for one of the October Surprise scandals, although I’d argue that Foley was more damaging.

          No, the only seat in play (for a party switch) is CD-4 and even that’s doubtful to be a true contest.

          1. CD6 is significantly over a third R, significantly under a third D and about a third unaffiliated.  HD38 pretty much reflects the over all mix for CD6.  Joe Rice won handily  in 2006 to become HD38’s first Dem state Rep, but he was targeted because of a close race in mostly overlapping SD26 in 2004 (the Dem lost by about 1%) and being a Lt. Colonel in the army Reserve with two tours in Iraq under his belt made him attractive to many moderate Rs and vets groups.  He was definitely the optimal Dem running at a very good time for Dems for a seat with no incumbent and a weak R candidate.  If a candidate with a similar profile could be found AND targeted (fat chance) a Dem win in CD6 would not be impossible. But all of those planets would have to align. 

            1. Can you link me to the site where you got these numbers?  Tried Secretary of State, no luck.  Used to be in the abstracts, not there either.  Even as big as Ritter and Salazar won I have a hard time believing they won the 6th.  They won Jeffco and Arapahoe, but the heavily Democratic parts of those counties (Lakewood, Arvada, Aurora) are all or mostly all in the 7th.  I think your numbers are wrong on the 6th District.  When you think about the Senate Districts overlapping, looking a those districts represented by Spence, Kopp, Harvey what do those look like.  Sure you’ve got Steve Ward, but that was a war hero who won a very close election.  The rest is in the most conservative part of Joan FitzGerald’s district, the mountains of Jeffco.  Even though the voting pattern is less rockribbed Republican in the Ward and FitzGerald district, Republicans still I bet out number Dems in both.  And they do substantially in the other three.  And the three districts held by the Republicans are just different.  Mostly RINO’s in the Dem Districts, but straight ticket voters in the others. 

              1. but someone came up with the current numbers for CD-6. While the author is somehow claiming that CD-6 might be in play as soon as 2010 (the GOP lost 10% of their registered voters in the past 3 years) but they still have 45% of all registered voters in the district, compared to 24% for the Dems and 31% unaffiliated. (The number of registered Dems and unnaffilateds also dropped, though not as much as the ‘pubs.)

                Sorry, but the only way a Dem wins is if every single Dem and every single unaffiliated voter votes Democratic.

                It’ll be years before CD-6 is competitive.

                1.   Why wait?  The U.S. Supreme Court said that redistricting can be done more than once in the same decade.  Who’s gonna complain? John Andrews?
                    The logical thing to do would be to move some of C.D. 1 into C.D. 6, but Princess Diana would probably have a hissy fit.

                  1. The court ruling that implemented the current CD districting opined rather strongly that Denver should not be split (unless absolutely necessary to meet other constitutional goals).  Both the Western Slope and the City and County of Denver were cited as being high-priority communities of interest that must be kept intact if at all possible.

                    There was an original plan to actually take vote from Denver and add it to a new 7th and the remaining 6th that would have meant both of those districts would have been in play for Democrats.

                    However there was significant testimony at trial (that the judge relied on) arguing to keep both the western slope and Denver intact.

              2. know for sure that Salazar and Ritter won in Arapahoe County, not sure that Salazar won CD6 as a whole which is not just Arapahoe. My mistake. Still, in general I believe what I said holds true: a Dem COULD win CD6 but only if every element is in place… Great candidate who appeals to moderates and takes a good sized piece of moderate R vote, targeting, no incumbent. The targeting will probably only come after some Dem loses by a very small margin, which hasn’t happened yet.  If Dems can get a candidate very close in 2008, targeting could kick in for 2010. Of course assuming there is a Republican in place at that time it becomes more problematic. In other words CD6 for Dems is a stretch but not absolutely out of the question. 

        2. that I do look forward to a bruising primary in a district that still has some old-school fiscal Repubs, aka RINOs, in significant numbers. We’ll see if the person who out-rightwings the rest of the field comes out on top the way Lamborn did in CD-5.

          1. As the Republican equalizer to CD 1 and 2.  CD 1 and 5 are just out of reach for the opposing parties.  CD 2 and 6 could be carried under the right circumstances, but we’re talking the extremes here (like an incumbent being photographed snorting coke of a hooker’s belly while beating a bag of puppies kind of extreme).  Despite all of the excitement of Ritter carrying the 6th, I don’t think that’s the case.  It was closer than it should have been, but I don’t think he won it.

      2. Obviously put together by a Republican operative.  Sure, you’d like the Dems to spend money in the 6th.  It’s a complete waste.  As I said on the other thread, they could nominate Jesus as a Democrat and any of these panty waist so-called conservatives would beat him with ease.

    3. I heard a rumor 2 or 3 months ago that CU Regent Steve Ludwig was looking at at. I have been recently under the impression that he was cooling to the idea, but with it being an open seat now maybe he will give it another look.

      I know the odds are very long against any Dem in that district, but I would at least like to see a race.

      1. The only thing stopping Steve is his day job.
        The CU Regent spot has no salary, so to eat he has to work.

        If a consulting job can be found to free up his time while still paying some bills, then he will be able to make a run of it. He is not a bad candidate at all. He lives in CD6 and did very well in the district on his road to statewide victory last cycle.

              1. What if you are a slovenly guy who just happens to like men–do you feel inadequate?  Always thought Queer eye for the Staight Guy made it tough on gay slobs.

                1.   And there are some in the GLBT community, but they have to be pretty discrete about it.  Closeted, you could say.
                    A minority within a minority…. 

    4. Democrats have a better chance winning in CD4 than they do in CD6 and they have almost no chance of winning in CD4.

      The 2006 election has created a delusive atmosphere for some Dems regarding their chances in 2008.

      With a less polarizing figure than Tancredo as the candidate, the chances of a Dem winning in CD6 decline even further. 

      Now, clearly the state as a whole and even Arapahoe county are less likely to be dominated by R candidates but that is an evolutionary process not a revolutionary process.  Arapahoe is going the same way that JeffCo has gone over the last 15 years.  But it took a while for JeffCo to get to where it is now (electing Democrats to Congress and the Legislature). 

      It will continue to take a while for Arapahoe to get there as well.  The signs are there for the beginnings of a rejection of knee-jerk rightwing nutcase politics (Ref C and Ritter’s  performance in Arapahoe and the fracturing of the Repuglican base with business Rs becoming disenchanted with the social conservative Rs), but it is just the early stages.  And certainly the southern part of the county is a lot different than the northern part.

      Look for Udall to win the Senate race, the state house and senate to remain in Dem hands (and perhaps pick up some seats, particularly in the Senate) but the CDs will remain respectively D and R as they are today.

        1. Just no chance here.  And I would point out, that Jeffco, is heavily Gerrymandered in the legislature and that the southern part and mountain part of the 6th are still held by Republicans in the legislature, and they aren’t the old moderate Republicans that Jeffco used to send to the state house.  They’re nuts, nuts, nuts.  While you may look at old Littleton, which is now close in voting patterns, and same with mountainous Jeffco, the rest of the district is made up of these nuts.  Just look at the mega-churches in the District St. Thomas Moore, the Mormon Temple, Cherry Creek Community, and it goes on and on.  Roger is also right that this is a process, trust me on that one.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s when I was Republican Chair in Jeffco, there was one elected Democrat in Jeffco, Joan FitzGerald.  The entire statehouse delegation was Republican.  Through Gerrymandering and changing demographics, 2/3 of the county now has a Democratic Congressman, there are four Democratic Senators to one Republican and there are 5 Democratic House members to 3 Republicans.  But, it took 15 years and Jeffco has never had the kinds of devleopments like Cherry Hills and the south east part of the metro area.  Then look at Douglas, or don’t its just too Republican to believe.  Might as well be El Paso County.

        2. Nothing says Republican than the middle class folks of CD6.  The best chance for the Dems was in 2006 with Bill Winter who actually took some of the Republican vote. 

          If Tom Tancredo could hold on to the seat for as long as he did, there is little chance of a Dem winning it.

    5. But not enough, IMHO, to take out any but the most wacky of the Republicans – and if past history is any indication, maybe not even one of those…  It’s always worth the Democrats putting up a serious candidate – no-one knows when a Republican is on a path to self-destruction, after all – but unless someone from the GOP steps up to out-do Tancredo in the “unhinged” department, this seat leans very heavily Republican.

      Just which Republican takes it, though, will be more the subject of entertainment than odds-rating for me for a while.

    6. I know Coffman too well – he won’t let this opportunity pass.

      The fact that he’ll be handing the Secretary of State’s office over to the Democrats (if he wins) will enter his mind only briefly… and even then, his only concern will be how it will effect his chances of winning.

      Oh, and by the way, does anyone else think it a little too coincidental that Tancredo’s former chief of staff is now Coffman’s chief of staff?

      This has been in the works for a while.

      1. This would set up a strange chain of events.
        What if Coffman takes 6, and Morgan Carroll gets tapped for SoS? Would she take it?
        She is on a strong leadership track in the House, but might she want to swap it for something more administrative sooner rather than later?
        Romanoff probably has his eyes on D.C. jobs, and putting Gordon in there might not work at this point. Interesting ripples all of this will make combined with the national shake-up.

        1. Who are you kidding, the man is 5 cans short of a 6 pack.  His arrogance tries to mask his lack of knowledge and intellect and he is so far off his kilter that we are all sliding a bit.

          And a suggestion of Morgan Carroll is not any better.  That woman would regulate anything and everything that does not benefit her if given the opportunity.

            1. The Independence Institute, with a generous donation from Diebolt, probably has a position paper on letting the free market regulate elections.

              1. It is Diebold you fool, and even then they have changed ownership.

                Elections are costly, but if Rep. Carroll had her way no one would ever collect or spend a dime including those that conduct elections.  At the rate she is going none of us will have to worry, there will be not a single candidate for which to hold an election.

                1. Competing against AS, Dr. Dobby, and LIAS?

                  The bills that Morgan Carroll carries have to do with righting wrongs, limiting the power of, er, power, and making sure the common folk have a fighting chance. 

                  I happen to think that is what’s best for America, and that’s why I spent two legislative sessions working for her as a volunteer. 

        1.   Coffman is probably the best of the names I’ve seen mentioned so far, although I’d love to see one true RINO get into the race, get 24% of the primary vote (the Lamborn strategy), and come out on top of the heap of burnt-out wing nuts.
            But it probably aint gonna happen……

            1. I assume you are referring to Coffman’s criticism of Gigi’s rule that would have required unions to gain permission from members before taking their dues for political purposes?

              Yes, while on the campaign trail it took a lot of “courage” for Coffman to say she was wrong on that front.

              But not as much “courage” as it took him to then support the rule when he assumed office.

              That’s integrity for you.

            2. More like lack of knowledge.  It is easy on the outside to say nasty things about the decisions being made, but on the inside it is not so easy.

              His tune has changed since he learned the process and the inner workings of the SOS.

        2. The man will chop your head off if he is in a bad mood or seemingly not on medication.  He went through multiple campaign managers during his run for SOS because no one could stand working for the man, and my sources tell me that his current staff is less than enamored with the man now.  Wish him luck in trying to get a staff to support him amongst the pirhanas of DC.

          He is a sickening politician who does nothing more than work a crowd, handshake by handshake. 

          And the Iraq/running elections line, well that is a farce.  Ask him to detail what he REALLY did there.

          1. And he was the owner of a small business before he became state treasurer.

            He also has  dry sense of humor and knows how to suck up to contributors, just like most politicians.

            I think he will be Colorado’s best member of Congress in a generation.

            1.   On the GOP side of the aisle, he’d be the most impressive Repub since Hank Brown left in ’96.  Imagine him standing between Musty and Lamborn……
                But he doesn’t compare to the Salazar brothers, Udall or Perlmutter.

                1.   The highly effective Wayne Allard?  There’s a reason he’s known as the Potted Plant.
                    Ben Nighthorse Campbell?  He got a building over at Fitzsimmons named after himself.  Major accomplishment.
                    B.W.B.?  Need I say more?
                    Shifty Schaffer?  He wouldn’t even support his own party’s president on Bush’s signature education initative.  He did manage to keep his term-limits pledge, so I give him some credit for that.
                    Musty?  Biggest accomplishment was the late Federal Marriage Amendment.
                    Lamborn?  Biggest accomplishment was when Rep. Joanne Davis died last month and left her seat on Armed Services to him.
                    McInnis?  Got a canyon named after himself (the sign on which was quickly and pornographically defaced) and comfortable job at Hogan & Hartson.
                    Tancredo?  His life accomplishment was getting “the Fence” along the Mexican border authorized (but not funded). Mission accomplished.
                    Hefley is the only one who can claim any achievements, and he’s vilified by the Lambornites because of his support for Jeff Crank.
                    Have I omitted anyone?  It’s quite a rogue gallery.

            2. He is a legislator, I will give you that.  However, his answer to everything is legislation (and of course press releases).  The fool cannot make a decision, and exactly how difficult is it to work at Treasury.  The man was bored stiff most of the time.  Even his wife, who would make the better candidate, has been heard saying that he did not have enough to do while Treasurer.

    7. just for the point of fun speculation, which potential presidential candidate on either side would help/hurt? Will Bob Schaffer’s non-existent, yet ethically-challenged campaign hurt the Repubs/give the Dems a maybe microscopic chance?

      1.   Bob Schaffer’s non-existent, yet ethically-challenged campaign will be competing with the legion of Repubs running in C.D. 6 as well as the three running in C.D. 5 for the same GOP $$$. 
          Not sure how an expensive primary helps B.S.  As for whose name on the ballot under B.S. might help/hurt on Election Day.  Coffman probably helps because of name recognition.

    8. that you don’t have to live in the district to run. I do hope that Fawcett will consider it. I think that CD6 may be a more thoughtful district (although they elected Tancredo 5 times) than CD5.
      Don’t forget Chlouber.
      The best thing about Wiens running would be to get him out of the state Senate.

      1.   But are you talking about him in the past or present tense? 
          Past Tense:  he ran in C.D. 1 while residing in Leadville. 
          Present tense:  is he thinking of running in C.D. 6?

        1. Chlouber passed on a CD5 run last time, and he lives in CD5.  I can’t imagine him tilting at a CD6 windmill when he still lives in Lake County (or he did last year, at least).  Sure, he could technically do so, but I think he learned his lesson after the humorous CD1 run.

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