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December 10, 2015 02:25 PM UTC

NRSC Bats Eyelashes in Jon Keyser's General Direction

  • by: Colorado Pols
State Rep. Jon Keyser (R-Morrison) is this week's NRSC darling.
State Rep. Jon Keyser (R-Morrison) is this week’s NRSC darling.

Elena Schneider of Politico has a new story up this afternoon about the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) turning its short attention span to 34-year-old freshman State Rep. Jon Keyser as the newest bright shiny object in a quest to defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) in 2016.

Of course, Colorado Pols readers have known for awhile that Keyser and the NRSC have been flirting with each other over a potential 2016 candidacy. Schneider’s story today is behind the Politico Pro paywall, but here’s a few highlights:

Months after getting turned down by Rep. Mike Coffman and Aurora theater shooting prosecutor George Brauchler, national Republicans believe they have found a viable Colorado Senate challenger following a series of quiet recruitment meetings in Washington and Colorado.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has set its sights on state Rep. Jon Keyser, a 34-year-old attorney and decorated combat veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan with a young, made-for-TV family and a bio perfectly tailored for a national security election.

Sources familiar with Keyser’s thinking say the state legislator is leaning toward a run. They also say that even though Keyser didn’t go looking for the opportunity, the stars have aligned in his favor.

Sen. Cory Gardner, left, poses for an awkward photo with state Sen. Tim Neville
Sen. Cory Gardner, left, poses for an awkward photo with state Sen. Tim Neville

You could say that the stars have aligned in Keyser’s favor…but only if we’re talking about those glow-in-the-dark stars that you can stick on your bedroom ceiling. Being known as “the NRSC’s candidate” has historically been a kiss of death for Republicans, because GOP voters in Colorado don’t take kindly to Washington D.C. folks trying to select a candidate for them. Not that the NRSC hasn’t been trying to do this for months now:

Following Brauchler’s decision not to run early this fall, Republicans went hunting for other potential candidates, including Doug Robinson (Mitt Romney’s nephew and a managing director of the audit and tax consultancy KPMG) and Rep. Scott Tipton. Both are still considering a bid.

Yet even as they courted others, Republicans kept circling back to Keyser, whom Sen. Cory Gardner’s team had connected with the NRSC.

The NRSC wanted Mike Coffman, but couldn’t convince him to run. Then the NRSC wanted George Brauchler — who was also being shepherded around by Sen. Cory Gardner — until Brauchler pulled his name from consideration. Now the NRSC reportedly wants Jon Keyser — and Keyser may even want them back — but by now Keyser would be the third Republican candidate from Jefferson County alone if he enters the race. At one point, the NRSC was even rumored to be looking at former Aurora city council member Ryan Frazier, though Frazier seems to have joined the fray on his own terms. We don’t know if the NRSC also wanted Greg Robinson or Scott Tipton; hell, they still might be pushing for another name.

What the NRSC really wants is someone — anyone — who can run a viable campaign against Bennet in 2016. Polling numbers seem to indicate Bennet is vulnerable, though the GOP would need an actual human being on the ballot in order to win in November. Republicans have lots of human beings who are now running for U.S. Senate, and it seems a bit late to try to wedge Keyser into that clown car.

We can understand the idea behind Jon Keyser — when all else fails, recruit someone who looks good on camera and then try to “invent” him as a legitimate Senate candidate — but Keyser is just another log on the fire at this point. We still don’t see how Keyser (or anyone else, for that matter) could defeat state Sen. Tim Neville (R-Jefferson County) in a Republican Primary. Remember that Neville supporters such as the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) already don’t like Keyser because of how former Rep. Cheri Gerou strategically timed her own announcement that she wouldn’t run for re-election so that Keyser would have an easier road through a GOP Primary.

Oh, and there’s always Dan Caplis (just kidding).


19 thoughts on “NRSC Bats Eyelashes in Jon Keyser’s General Direction

    1. That's a fun way to select candidates – and just as fair as letting PAC money choose. I recommend that the GOP Presidential deciders adopt your method.  Very worthwheel.

      p.s. I got naked basement gun guy. No pictures, please.

  1. Anyone to the left of Nate Marshall who is having his or her picture taken with Timmy Neville is going to be in an awkward photo.

    Does Keyser not want to wait for Timmy to win the U.S. Senate so Keyser can then move up to Timmy's State Senate seat?

    As a Jeffco resident, I wonder what we did to warrant not one but at least THREE (and counting) Republicans candidates for the U.S. Senate calling our fair county their home.

    1. And this is someone who wants to help write national laws? 

      As usual, I agree with practically everything you say, but may I please offer a rewrite on your question..?

      to wit…."and this is someone who wants to vote in national laws written by lawyers and lobbyists so he can rake in giant campaign contributions from the wealthy people who benefit from those laws?"  

      Mine is more cumbersome, I know, but probably a bit closer to the reality of DC. I think real policy wonks are rarely running in the Republican party, anymore..they just let ALEC do it.

    2. MJ55, thanks for reminding all of us about his shenanigans with the two ballots. That episode proves he will lie to make an invalid and false point, even in a situation, where, if he has any gray matter, he knows his lie can easily be uncovered. Its a sign of his raw ambition which, if I was a Republican, I'd be worried about because when someone is that blatant of a liar they will run over anybody to get where they want to go, including other Republicans. Mr. Keyser lacks integrity and therefore no one, even Republicans, can trust him.

      1. where, if he has any gray matter, he knows his lie can easily be uncovered. 

        I disagree. Not the way things are today, especially in the Modern GOP (there's an oxymoron). When someone is called on a lie, even a blatant lie, he or she simply needs to say that it's liberal media which is out to get him or her. Exhibit A:  Ben Carson. Exhibit B:  The Donald. Exhibit C:  Sarah Palin.

        It doesn't matter whether he has integrity or not. He will simply scream that he is being maligned becaue he is a conservative calling it the way he sees it.

  2. If you want to see my comments, go to the DailyKos daily elections thread.  There are lots of numb-nuts from Colorado commenting on this, most with just comments people heard about and obvious comments from Bennet haters who often post on this site.  I have posted a number of comments which dispute this stuff.

  3. If anyone thinks Kaiser didn't go looking for this, they are wrong.  I'm quite certain that Kaiser, like Bill Owens before him, believes that one day he will be President of the United States and has a written plan as how to get there.  He thinks he's the Republican Jack Kennedy.

  4. And finally Colorado Pols (who has a disposition for blaming Republicans in Jeffco who resign seats early for political advantage but doesn't care that a Democrat resigned her seat in Jeffco to save the Democratic majority in the state senate) you have "misspoken" above.  Cheri Gerou did not resign her seat.  She served her full term.  So, admit you are wrong and change the above.  I expect an apology to former Rep. Gerou to be front-paged here.

    1. There are some important differences in the political musical chairs you describe. Evie Hudak resigned before a recall could take place as a strategic move to help the Democratic caucus — but the move didn't benefit Hudak in any way. You can debate whether it was right or wrong for Hudak to resign, but there was nothing self-serving about that decision.

      This is significantly different than the case of, say, Faye Griffin, who keeps jumping from office to office so that she can remain an elected official without having to face term limits. Hell, Griffin even admits that she moves around to avoid term limits. 

  5. Keyser is not evil, but he is young, ambitious, and privileged.  Those qualities make him clueless to the needs of the majority of those he has pledged to serve.  I say this not as a generality but after having had the privilege to talk to him face to face in a meeting to show him the inner workings of a nonprofit in his district.  But he was really there to talk about himself.  Color me not impressed.

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