A Democrat’s Dream Opponent: Beauprez, Tancredo, or Gessler?

Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler, Tom Tancredo.

Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler, Tom Tancredo.

At this point in the crowded Republican gubernatorial primary, post-caucus but before the state assembly and June primary election, we're beginning to see trajectories emerge that allow for some predictions as to who–in what has been a gaggle of undistinguished candidates–might emerge as clear frontrunners.

Before the entry of ex-Congressman Bob Beauprez into the gubernatorial race on the day before the caucuses, the race seemed to be settling into a two-man contest between Secretary of State Scott Gessler and firebrand 2010 American Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo. The other candidates in this race, principally state Sen. Greg Brophy and former Sen. Mike Kopp, were already more or less relegated to the second tier–Brophy's good early debate performance being quickly forgotten.

Interrupting the natural propensity for big fields of candidates to winnow down to two, Beauprez undeniably shakes up this race. The biggest reason Beauprez had space to get into the race at all is the persistent unease many institutional Republicans have with Gessler. The court ruling this week upholding the ethics commission's finding that Gessler "breached the public trust for private gain" is a big problem for his campaign, who would really like to consolidate the limited victory he achieved on caucus night in counties that carried out preference polls.

Tancredo has a relatively large base of loyal activists left over from his days as a firebrand anti-immigration activist and presidential candidate, and good name ID, but Republican strategists understand he cannot possibly win a statewide general election. Although Beauprez's real opponent for the nomination is clearly Gessler, Tancredo is the one with the most to lose from Beauprez's entry into the race, and the most quickly.

Which brings us to Beauprez, who is energetically calling in favors from Washington, D.C. friends to generate buzz for his campaign. Beauprez has been described in at least one news report as the "prohibitive favorite" of the Republican Governor's Association (RGA), a reflection of his ability to woo D.C. Republican kingmakers. But Beauprez faces an almost insurmountable obstacle to winning: himself. In barely two weeks, Beauprez has already stuck his foot in his mouth over the "Personhood" abortion ban, re-earning the title "Both Ways Bob" that was used against him so effectively in 2006. He's supplying the same laugh-track material in early interviews that made him the easiest mark most Colorado Democrats can remember–practically the textbook bad candidate to set up and knock down over and over. Whatever Beauprez has done to re-ingratiate himself eight years later in D.C., his 2006 run was a disaster of the kind that probably should end a political career. And he shows every sign that if nominated, he'll bomb in 2014 just as badly.

Bottom line: what we have in the Colorado Republican gubernatorial race today are three potential frontrunners, and to be honest, Democrats should relish the prospect of running against any one of them. For strategic and logistical reasons, Democrats may prefer a candidate unable to self-finance or raise big money so they can truly put Gov. John Hickenlooper's re-election on autopilot. Setting the money aside, we'll turn the question over to our readers: which of these three should Democrats want to run against the most?

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DawnPatrol says:

    Like shooting fish in a barrel.

    So many glaring, overarching poilitcal flaws and Achilles Heels to choose among for attack. So many juicy political ads waiting to be (easily) written and launched.

    I genuinely look forward to the comoing all-out warfare against these amoral, craven, corrupt, duplicitous knobs.

  2. DawnPatrol says:

    As for which of these jackasses would be best for us to run against, I can't say. They're all so top-heavy and overflowing with easy targets and glaring weaknesses. I call them Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber…and Dumber Still.

    Being insane and an overt racist, one would think Tanc would be the easy pick. But Gessler is so incredibly slimy and openly corrupt, he makes for a HUGE target. And of course Bothways Bob "NO, I'm NOT James B. Sikking" Bo-Pray has shown himself to be a horse's ass, quite literally, so we can't dismiss him out of hand.

    Personally, being the brazenly sleazy, uber-corrupt slimeball he is, I'd prefer we get to take down Gessler this Novmeber. It would be a geunine public service to remove him from the CO political scene early and permanently.

    • IndyNinja says:

      I agree with your assesment. 

      But just speaking from an ease-of-win point of view, I say Gessler is the best bet. The recent ethics violation, ruled by the IEC and upheld by District Court, makes it that much easier to paint everything else he has done or hopes to do as self-interest, or at least party interest, before public interest. 

      But Beauprez is on record for personhood.

      So it's tough to pick between them. Odd as it is, I think Tancredo has the best shot in the general of the three of them, but even so, I don't think he has any real chance at all. 

      Might as well nominate Brophy. At least it would be an entertaining cycle. 

  3. BlueCat says:

    Funny. Our righties sometimes complain that ColPols only posts unflattering pics of GOTP candidates but the BWB pic actually looks nice and Tanc looks OK, too. It's apparently just impossible to find a pic of Gessler in which he doesn't look like a shifty, guilty little weasel.  I've never seen one that doesn't, here or anywhere else, even  from his own campaign. Why ever could that be?

  4. mamajama55 says:

    I still think Tancredo is the most formidable opponent – of course, he's completely cynical and opportunistic in how he's embracing the ganja now, but he does appeal to some voters who feel victimized by "those people".

    So I would prefer that Gessler win the primary, for Colorado's sake. I would like him to retire from the political scene, go back to making the big bucks as a GOP lawyer/lobbyist/consultant, and get to spend more time with his adorable family.

    • BlueCat says:

      Disagree. Tanc is an established joke candidate. Kind of like our own cheap imitation Palin. Palin is an A list Tea Party celeb to Tanc's D  list status and neither is electable which is fine by them because neither wants to have a hard job. 

      Gessler actually would like to be elected and, to the low info voter, Gessler can be presented as a serious candidate given his status as SOS. But it's all academic as neither is going to beat Hick and neither are any of the other options. Easy one to agree to disagree on with no hard feelings.

    • dustpuppy says:

      The interesting thing is that since his initial 'support' of marijuana he has already reversed his stance.

      So, Tancredo doesn't get credit for anything but opportunistic behavior.

  5. Sunmusing says:

    I am not comfortable with any Democrat who is thinking this is going to be easy, or clean…Dark money is on its way, and the propaganda will be constant….It is too bad our TV stations and print don't follow the truth in advertising anymore…

    • BlueCat says:

      The dark money goes first to those with the best chances of winning in the most competitive races. Yeah, plenty of money will be spent on this one but it won't be at the top of any rightie go for broke funding list. Coffman's will be as long as the polling doesn't go seriously south for him. Our Senate race will definitely be right up there on the priority list since Rs can smell a Senate takeover. 

      They're going to want to concentrate their bucks where the potential return on investment is highest, not on an uphill effort to defeat a center right incumbent Gov. with a significant advantage in the polls and history of successful campaigning. And Hick's team isn't going to treat it as a walk in the park. They'll run their usual skillful campaign. 

  6. davebarnes says:

    Scotty is the weakest.
    No personal funds.
    Ethics issues.
    Will not excite the gunnuts.

    • bullshit! says:

      I agree with you. None of them can beat Hick, so the question becomes who forces the largest expenditure to defeat. Personally I think that's Tanc or BWB, so Money Badger's my homie.

  7. Andrew Carnegie says:

    If I were a Dem, and I am not, I would think your order of preference should be:

    Gessler, Tancredo and Beauprez.

    • I have to agree that Gessler would be the easiest candidate for Hickenlooper to take on. I'm torn between Tancredo and Beauprez, though.

      Tancredo ran a strong race last time on a third party ticket; on the GOP ticket he would be even stronger. But he's got a long history of extremist views representing a then blood-red Congressional district. Colorado knows Tancrazy when they see it.

      Beauprez on the other hand failed miserably at his last run for office, and his entry into the race so far has been… bumpy. But he projects a more moderate image, which IMHO is needed to get that last percent or two needed to win the race.

      Neither will hurt for cash if they win the primary. The question is: can Tancredo keep himself under control, and can Beauprez pull it together and not stumble along?

  8. dwyer says:

    Beauprez is doing much better than I thought he would.  Didn't Tancredo say he would support Beauprez if he won the nomination?  I think he did.

  9. dustpuppy says:

    The easiest thing for the Reprobates to do is to concede the election even before it started.

    If they can't come up with even [i]stupider[/i] candidates, it's a tossup in a clown car.

    The thing is, neither of these idiots can beat Hickenlooper.

  10. BlueCat says:

    Latest poll bears me out on seeing Gessler as not the weakest, though it's not weakest by a smidge. This one differs from question posed here in that it polls for Brophy, not BWB.  But as I said, big deal. It's going to be Hick:

    Colorado Governor – Gessler vs. Hickenlooper    Rasmussen Reports    Hickenlooper 44, Gessler 38    Hickenlooper +6

    Colorado Governor – Tancredo vs. Hickenlooper    Rasmussen Reports    Hickenlooper 46, Tancredo 37    Hickenlooper +9

    Colorado Governor – Brophy vs. Hickenlooper    Rasmussen Reports    Hickenlooper 42, Brophy 33    Hickenlooper +9

    • bullshit! says:

      This poll was pre court decision against Gessler, wasn't it?

      • BlueCat says:

        The day before, Tues. March 11 and the decision came down Wed the 12th right? I see what you mean. But I don't think it really makes all that much difference. After the real campaign starts Hick supporters' ads (his official campaign ads will no doubt stick with his sunny image) would emphasize this and his numbers could get worse but there's plenty for negative ads on all the choices. If  a new poll in the near future, before the serious campaigning begins, shows a slide in Gessler's head to head numbers that could be attributed to the decision. I'll keep checking. For fun. Not because I'm worried about who runs against Hick.

      • Yes, and the attack ads haven't really started in yet against any of these candidates.

  11. Diogenesdemar says:

    Is it too late for McInnis to make a run ???????

    • horseshit GOP front group says:

      Hey, he says he wants to help !

    • ct says:

      "Last night I had a dream, When I got to the Redlands,
      I had one hell of a rumble.
      I had to beat Beauprez’s behind first,
      For claiming to be King of the Clown-Car.
      For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
      I’ve tussled with a whale.
      I done handcuffed lightning
      And throw thunder in jail.
      You know I’m bad.
      just last week, I murdered a rock,
      Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
      I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
      I’m so fast, man,
      I can run through a hurricane and don't get wet.
      When Greg Brophy meets me,
      He’ll pay his debt.
      I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
      Wait till you see Scotter McInnis."

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