Tim Neville Driving Colorado GOP Senate Clown Car

They too would like to be your Senator.

They too would like to be your Senator.

The Denver Post’s John Frank has a good story up this week on the large field of relatively low-level Republican candidates now competing for the chance to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in this year’s U.S. Senate race. Frank’s story is doing a good job defining the players early for a national audience unfamiliar with most of them, in part by aligning them with quasi-equivalent presidential candidates who are offering similar messages:

The presidential contest is defining the early outlook on Colorado’s race, creating an opening for a political outsider, putting the focus on national security and foreshadowing a messy campaign in the months ahead.

“You are going to end up seeing some similar factionalism and similar rhetoric coming out of the Senate candidates,” said Ryan Call, the former state GOP chairman. “And it will be difficult to reconcile those ideological factions and get them to pull together in support of the nominee for president or U.S. Senate.” [Pols emphasis]

The candidate that emerges from the Republican Senate primary will influence the party’s chances for victory in November, up and down the ballot.

In a separate blog post, Frank outlines the similarities between the messages of presidential and Colorado U.S. Senate candidates: Ryan Frazier with Ben Carson, Peggy Littleton and Carly Fiorina, as well as Marco Rubio with Jon Keyser and either Rand Paul or Ted Cruz with Tim Neville. Some of these comparisons strike us as a little…well, superficial, but there are some valid parallels between the messages of Rubio and Keyser–like there are with Cruz and Neville. Cruz and Rubio are also the two candidates working the hardest to win support in Colorado, with Jeb! Bush flatlining and Donald Trump having little presence here away from television screens.

Frank oddly doesn’t mention this, but the same Republican strategists who are working in Colorado on behalf of Rubio, including Rob Witwer and Josh Penry, are also principally responsible for elevating Jon Keyser. The trouble for Keyser’s supporters is that Keyser has not made anything like the room-clearing splash with his entry into the race that Cory Gardner did in 2014–indeed, news of Keyser getting in the race was met with more candidates jumping in, not a field looking to clear for him in any way. At this point Keyser is totally undifferentiated from the rest of the dozen candidates in the primary, except for some negatives Democrats pinned on him right out of the gate–and that’s not good news for his handlers.

On the other hand, Neville’s built-in advantage in this race is increasingly evident. Neville didn’t raise a stellar amount in his first partial quarter–around $120k–but it was certainly enough to launch a functional primary campaign. Neville’s real strength lies in the ideologically committed and fiercely loyal “Tea Party” and gun activist grassroots that look to him as a leader–and with Colorado Republicans in a continuing state of internal strife, Neville is perhaps in a position to wield more power today than any other individual Colorado Republican.

Looking ahead, we do think the “clown car” will drop most of its passengers in the coming months. We would nonetheless expect as of now to see 4-5 candidates on the June primary ballot, with the final battle coming down to Neville versus either Keyser, Littleton, or self-funding Colorado Springs businessman Robert Blaha. Should any significant candidates either rise to prominence out of the current pack or enter the race, Keyser is the one with the most to lose, with Neville’s base being the least transferable.

All told, and for a host of good reasons, it’s Neville’s race to lose as of this writing.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    Colorado Pols and Democrats are pushing Neville as part of the "Akin strategy."


    Jon Keyser is the clear choice in this race. He's a professional and a war hero, and he is doing everything right to set himself up to beat Neville AND beat Bennet. Keyser is the candidate Democrats fear, just like Rubio. It's no coincidence that the smartest Republicans in Colorado are behind both of them.

    Great spin, Pols, but we're on to your game this year.

    • Republican 36 says:

      Whose choice? Yours or the Republican Party? If the latter, how do you know who the party members prefer? We don't even know who the delegates will be to the state assembly. At this stage, I'll give Mr. Keyser a chance at the nomination if for no other reason than none of the Republican candidates, including him, are known statewide or have established themselves as serious candidates. In that kind of environment, its anybody's guess who will emerge with the nomination.

      • cpolind says:

        Colorado doesn't know about Jon Keyser? Say it isn't so.. I thought this was his race to lose because everybody knows about him? LOL.. He's done nothing. I have family in his district and they don't like the fact that he bailed out of his job after hardly a year. Keyser is ten years younger than Rubio, but he feels he's our man because he’s a serviceman. I appreciate his service, but he admitted to campaigning while on duty, and most Vets I know don't like folks who use their service as a prop.


    • BlueCat says:

      I don't care one way or the other. Take your pick, modster. None of them is going to beat Bennet. We don't need the Akin strategy thanks to your party's  convenient melt down. And don't think we don't appreciate it.kiss

    • Socialisticat says:

      Yes, you've caught us on this one, Sherlock Moddy!  Pack up the Neville posters, Pols, the Republicans are too smart to nominate this numbskull Neville– no matter how hard you try to force him on them.

      Wait, what?  Neville got elected to office without a primary challenger in the SD-16 primary?  He got a fellow RMGO'er and nutball appointed to fill the seat Keyser jumped from in HD-25?  Over a bunch of what passes for normal Republicans these days?  I don't think Pols is pushing this guy, Moddy,  I think you folks actually like him!

    • TobiasFunke says:

      And he's got a whole 120 days of experience to run on. What a candidate! 

    • FrankUnderwood says:


      ROFLMAO Yeah, that's the ticket. Like Gessler '14.

      Recent poll of Florida Repubs has the Donald at 48%, Cruz in second place, Rubio in third at 11% and JEB! in fourth with 10%. So the former governor and the current US Senator are getting 10% each in his home state while the snake oil salesman from New York is getting almost half the Republican primary voters. 

      Moddy, you expecting Rubio to do better in CO than in his home state? 

      Face it Moddy, it will be Trump and Joni Ernest with Timmy Neville as your senate candidate in CO.

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Tim Neville has two major pieces of "baggage" that will hinder him greatly, I would think, in a state-wide race if he gets the Repub. nomination. One is his position on the far right wing of the party when it comes to the divisive social issues, particularly abortion & contraception. The Dems, without going all-out Udall, can easily hang the results of the personhood ballot initiatives; in 2008, '10, '14; around Mr. Neville's neck. For the record, combining the results of the three initiatives yields a combined percentage of 69% against and 31% for. This represents not just landslide defeats, but total poundings. While Neville's anti-abortion/anti-contraception positions play well with his base, it won't play with the majority of the electorate unless lots of people have big changes of heart.

    Mr. Neville's other problem is his near total lack of "green credentials." His score on the 2015 legislative session scorecard by Conservation Colorado was a mere 10%. His lifetime score for his two years is just 20%.

    Some on this site; like maybe Moderatus; may try to argue that ConCo is just a leftist liberal organization. However, the bills that were used to compile scores stand on their own merits. As one additional example, outdoor recreation generates over $13 billion in revenues for the state and local economies; generates over 110,000 good jobs; and about a billion in tax revenues for the state and local governments. Mr. Neville's anti-environment voting record can be construed that he opposes Colorado's vibrant outdoor recreation economy (healthy environment equals healthy economy).   

    I'll be carefully reviewing the choices for US Senate nominee before I go to my Republican precinct caucus. It is safe to say now, though, that Mr. Neville will not have my vote or support.   C.H.B.


    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Thanks for your perspective CHB.  I hadn't thought of his environmental record as a hurdle but Colorado is a big outdoor state and Neville's 'sell it to the highest bidder' approach to being a conservationist might be a stumbling block.

      My view is that his gun worshipping will be a bigger issue in the general election.  Coloradans are very aware of the gun issue and pouting about Uncle Sam coming to get your guns isn't going to resonate well in a state that already has gone through the gun wars and found that the modest regulations in 2013 didn't result in mass gun confiscation.  I'm hoping voters give Neville an exorcism for his slavish Pro-Death adulation of guns.

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