Robert Blaha is drawing a line in the sand…in October.
John Frank of the Denver Post caught up with the Colorado Springs Republican on Tuesday, and Blaha let it be known that he is planning to run for U.S. Senate in 2016:
In an interview Tuesday, the Republican said he would formally announce his bid for the GOP nomination in early October.
Before Bennet’s announcement Friday that he would back the Obama administration’s negotiated agreement, Blaha pledged to make the issue his deciding factor. A yes vote, he would enter. A no vote, he would stand down.
“I drew a line in the sand and I said this is something that is bad for Colorado, it’s bad for America and it’s very bad for Israel,” he said…
…Blaha’s ability to put significant cash into his own bid is putting him on the GOP map, given that the announced candidates so far have raised little money to challenge Bennet. [Pols emphasis]
That last sentence is the key here. Blaha is President of something called Human Capital Associates, which kind of sounds like something George Costanza might have invented but nevertheless has helped make Blaha a very wealthy man. Blaha has no qualms about using his personal wealth to fund his political dreams, so his presence as a Republican Senate candidate must be taken seriously to some degree.
Back in 2012, Blaha spent nearly $800,000 of his own money in a losing effort to unseat Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO5) in a Republican Primary. If he was willing to write such a big personal check for a Congressional seat, you’d have to imagine that Blaha is willing to spend even more if it gets him closer to the U.S. Senate. While there is always the chance that Blaha will ultimately decide not to run for Senate before he makes an announcement in October, it seems likely that he will be a full-fledged candidate; Blaha’s campaign is being handled by infamous Republican consultant Patrick Davis, who largely only works with candidates who have the ability to self-fund a campaign.
Republicans have been searching for months for a candidate to run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016, most recently attempting to convince Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler to jump into the race. Now, all of a sudden, Republicans have two capable Senate candidates in the self-funding Blaha and Jefferson County State Senator Tim Neville.
Can Blaha or Neville pose a significant threat to Bennet’s re-election? Perhaps. But at long last, we seem to have finally found a serious GOP field of candidates willing to mix it up in 2016.