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March 18, 2014 08:27 AM UTC

So Long, Owen Hill

  • by: Colorado Pols
Owen Hill.
Owen Hill.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Matt Steiner reports:

Less than three weeks after Colorado State Sen. Owen Hill refused to give up his bid for a U.S. Senate seat, Hill is leaving the race and will give his support to the U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner.

Hill, of Colorado Springs, said in late February that Gardner used "corruption and backroom deals" to pressure him out of the running… 

But hey, you know, that was then.

On Monday, though, Hill said that "unity within the Republican Party" will be needed to gain back control of the Senate.

"With all the support Cory has, we need a united front," Hill said. "He has the ability to leverage a national network to beat Mark Udall."

Freshman state Sen. Owen Hill would certainly know about how now-presumptive GOP nominee Cory Gardner's "national network" can be "leveraged" to do stuff. After all, the first use of Gardner's "network" was to "leverage" most of the other Republican U.S. Senate primary candidates out of the race before he even got in! Hill's reaction to Gardner's entry into the race was, as the Gazette reported, indignant:

Hill said Gardner came to him weeks ago and pressured him to drop out of the race.

''It's party leadership trying to decide who gets to run," Hill said…

"This is the exact same corruption and back-room deals that have caused the Republican party to lose elections year after year," Hill said. [Pols emphasis]

And as Hill's supporters in the Tea Party Express said at the time, courtesy the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels:

"With a head-to-head matchup between the establishment's anointed candidate, Cory Gardner, and Owen Hill, the choice is clear for Tea Partiers around Colorado and across the nation," [Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy] Kremer said.

We're not completely surprised by this turnaround, of course; when you put a "backroom deal" in place the likes that Gardner initiated, you generally try to tie up all of the loose ends. However, it did seem as though Hill was going to keep pushing forward with his candidacy. Hill had raised enough money, and picked up enough support from Tea Party types, that he could have made a legitimate run at the GOP nomination. Frankly, we wouldn't have been surprised with any decision from Hill, short of changing his Party and running as the American Constitution candidate.

Hill's exit doesn't do much to help Gardner avoid tacking to the right, since he's already the 10th most conservative member of Congress. The fact is, Gardner is already going to have to walk back a large body of politically harmful statements from his time as a safe-seat legislator and congressman–and it's going to hurt him when he does. A Primary certainly wouldn't have made things any easier for Gardner, but it doesn't change this particular set of problems.

As for Hill, this merely proves the old saying: "age and treachery beats youth and skills."

All in all, Hill's candidacy for U.S. Senate was fairly well played. He showed that he could raise a respectable amount of money, and he demonstrated enough connections to gain the support of the likes of former Congressman Ron Paul. Hill is a young candidate who took advantage of a vacuum for Republican candidates — which was timely, since he doesn't need to worry about running for re-election to the State Senate until 2016 — and he lives to run for something else another day. This all worked out pretty nicely for Hill, provided he makes a smart decision about his next race and doesn't pull a Ryan Frazier.


23 thoughts on “So Long, Owen Hill

  1. I sense Hill finally figured out the Tea Party in Colorado would rather not lose this race.  Mark Udall's extreme record has managed to unite the mainstream Republican types and Tea Party folk who are now joined in their efforts to defeat Udall.

    Now the primary race is over and the general has begun.  Advantage Republicans because they can now focus on Udall and work on his unfavorables instead of waiting for the fall.

    1. Advantage Republicans? 

      You're forgetting salient detail – Gardner has a voting record, too (and with the public still getting to know him, his numbers will slip once his unfavorables are out there). It's still Advantage Udall, things are just a bit more interesting now.

      1. I meant to convey that that getting the selection process over early advantages the Republicans, as opposed to having it drag on into the summer.

    1. Ha. I'm not the only one that gets Colorado congressional districts misnumbered. Coffman's, soon to be Romanoff's, Aurora district is CD6. Cory Gardner is CD4, which is most of eastern Colorado. Scott Tipton's is CD3, which is most of the western slope, including for some odd reason, Pueblo. The rest you probably know. 

  2. "This is the exact same corruption and back-room deals that have caused the Republican party to lose elections year after year," Hill said.

    One corrupt back-room deal later…

    "With all the support Cory has, we need a united front," Hill said.

    Methinks Owen realized two things: (1) He wasn't going to win, (2) He still wanted a political/policymaking career, and, after all, Gardner does have "the ability to leverage a national network…"

    "With all the support Cory has, we need a united front," Hill said. – See more at:

    "With all the support Cory has, we need a united front," Hill said. – See more at:

    "With all the support Cory has, we need a united front," Hill said. – See more at:

        1. To be honest, I'm developing a fondness for the post like an oaf, apologize two seconds later model.

          i like editing, but I hate when a chain develops and someone near the top edits a significant chunk that destroys the context of what follows.  For me the latter outweighs the former.

          1. Also, it would give trolls the opportunity to try and cover their tracks, like when they make racist comments and try pretend they didn't. 

  3. Hill's leaving could actually hurt Gardner, although Udall would no doubt have preferred a tough battle between the two right-wing extremists.

    With Hill in the race, Gardner could have been viewed as "less radical" – at least compared to someone like Hill. But now there won't be anyone to the right of Gardner. Udall can paint Gardner as a total extremist, and Gardner won't be able to claim he's a "moderate" Republican at least compared to some….

    And Hill has already hurt Gardner badly with his "corruption and back-room deals" statement.

    1. I like the facts that A) we now can focus like a laser solely upon Gardner's extremist bagger record, and B) the Teabaggys, having lost their boy "Potsie" Hill, now will start making demands and asking uncomfortable questions of Gardner that much sooner, forcing him to contort himself into a human pretzel as Udalll begins concurrently deconstructing Gardner, brick by brick.

      1. DP, two problems,

        1 You will be outspent early on by about 2-1 by third parties..

        2. The Tea Party is on board with Gardner and with the primary over they will not be asking questions.

        1. This Tea Party?  What could possible go wrong? Of course no one inside the bubble will be asking anyone else questions for good reason – it always ends badly.  There was a time (at the very beginning) when I could support some of the ideals of the Tea Party.  That was before they became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch and Wall Street. It's hard to miss the irony that the Boston boys (then) were fighitng the corporate influence of the East India Company and the monopoly they had been granted.  "Freedom Fighters" – myth on par with the belief that Brontosaurs' actually roamed the planet.

          "Wall Street wants to stop bipartisan agreement. And because it is pushing for partisan combat rather than bipartisan cooperation, it has provoked zero backlash from conservative activists – even though it is killing a reformist, preference-eliminating, tax-rate-lowering reform that is the most promising legislative incarnation of a populist reform to have emerged in years."

          If there was ever a reason to vote for the people represented by the "Blue Line"…it is now.

          1. Yes, he's in a bit of a pickle.  He does seem like a interesting guy, though.  He supports logging, mining and fracking, and farming, ranching and tourism.  I really like the beetle kill tree part, but the others are a bit contradictory.  To me anyway, I'm sure not to you.

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