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February 02, 2016 02:58 PM UTC

What Iowa Says About Colorado's U.S. Senate Race

  • by: Colorado Pols
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), state Sen. Tim Neville (R).
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), state Sen. Tim Neville (R).

To best understand the relationship between the outcome of the Iowa caucuses yesterday and Colorado politics, we’ll refer back to the Denver Post’s John Frank, and his story late last month on the state of the Republican U.S. Senate primary:

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.”

Sen. Ted Cruz’s victory in the Iowa caucuses yesterday once again demonstrated the strength of the insurgent conservative grassroots in a “post-Tea Party” Republican Party–a result that needs to be repeated in the next few primaries in order overcome the stigma of Iowa picking social conservatives, but proving Cruz to be the likely recipient of Donald Trump voters should they begin to peel off en masse after his disappointing second place finish.

In Frank’s informal matchup of Colorado U.S. Senate candidates, state Sen. Tim Neville and Cruz were the logical ideological pairing. The momentum Cruz has after winning Iowa straightforwardly validates and emboldens Neville’s position in the U.S. Senate race. We’ll have to see how the potentially disruptive entry of former CSU athletic director Jack Graham into the race rebalances the enormous field of candidates. What we can say is that the Colorado Republican Party is in no position to stop Neville in favor of a Washington-favored candidate, and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-backed “Neville political machine” has demonstrated its power in intraparty battles from Laura Woods to Tim Leonard.

There’s a prevalent suspicion among journalists covering the U.S. Senate primary that Democrats want to run against Neville in the general election, and are building him up by focusing on him as the principal threat. But this ignores the more important reality, which is Neville has already demonstrated he is capable of winning the primary. Just as important, his ability to win is not a plug that can be pulled by the party brass.

If the history of the Iowa caucuses tells us anything, it’s not to draw any hard conclusions from their outcome. The relationships between presidential and Colorado politics aptly characterized by John Frank are all subject to change with events. They key point for today is that there is a common theme of an “unruly” conservative grassroots, which we assume they would take as a compliment, in both Ted Cruz’s victory and the Republican primary politics in Colorado.

And it is not to be underestimated by anyone.


18 thoughts on “What Iowa Says About Colorado’s U.S. Senate Race

  1. Nonsense, Neville isn't our first choice for a GOP candidate. We'd prefer to have Bennet face off against Peggy Littleton since Gordon Klingonshit won’t throw his hat in the ring.

  2. Typically neutered analysis by CPols. 

    What Iowa Says About Colorado’s U.S. Senate Race…

    beyond the Republican self-made cluster-fuck, and the fact that CO R's picked losers in '08 and '12, is this: 

    Democrats need to study the full spectrum of Democratic and Progressive voters in the state, they should be wary of that elusive Independent, who often is independent because Republicans aren't Radical and Reactionary enough, not because "both sides do it" and it's “so hard to choose" 

    Democrats need to take advantage of an entire voting bloc they couldn't wait to abandon in '08 (and maybe even '12).

    Democrats, who are counting on Hillary's establishment appeal and her history of DLC and Corporate leanings, should think very clearly about the appeal, logic, and common sense of the Bernie Sanders message and the number of truly popular proposals he has at his fingertips. And the vast support that voters have shown for those proposals the last 8+ years.

    You are welcome, CPols.

        1. Don't know but sure will support anybody the Democratic Party runs against any   GOP candidate. No instructions from masters necessary. Just more sense then a fence post.

    1. Zappy,

      You're not going to get a progressive purist to run a primary against Bennet. Democrats with a brain would rather have the seat, and so far the Republicans are cooperating nicely.

      Unless you'd rather have a Republican president nominate right-wing judges who would be duly confirmed by a GOP Senate.

      If that's what you want, you're the same kind of purist jerk as my teabagger neighbor.


        1. Bennet f'd up my retirement with his shady dealmaking when he was Supe of DPS. I don't have to "get over" that, and it doesn't make me a purist.

          I also have contempt for his gaming around the ACA ( I'll stand to the bitter end for single payer! No, I meant, take it off the fricking table! No, I meant ACA forever!!) and his dancing around on Keystone XL. He's made some good moves on alternative energy and renewables, however.

          None of this makes me in any way equivalent to the tea party, because I'll probably vote for the f#cker anyway, just as I did in '2010.

          1. Which just goes to show you have your priorities straight. That's rational. Rationality is all those of us who've found the over the top dumping on Obama's virtual policy twin (but not nearly so much on Obama) kind of crazy are asking for. 

          1. Lately I've been seeing lots of FB posts reminding everyone that the differences between Dems is small compared to the differences between Dems and Republicans so let's all get ready to vote for and support Bernie or HRC or whoever we get. Let's be damn sure we don't help Rs win. I agree. I don’t think it’s wrong to strongly support our preferences at this stage and most voters aren’t paying a bit of attention to this blog but let’s leave some room for pulling together when the chips are down.

      1. so we expect Bennet to run a perfect, winning campaign, like the ones he oversaw in '14 as DSCC chair?

        Of course, Zappy, you fool. 

        And he'll win using those same strategies that just failed Democrats a year ago? And he'll ignore anything positive (can a Democratic Socialist do something positive? I'd say no, because Bernie still has an (I) behind his name, and that's not a (D), and Mongo no like.) that Bernie has done to bring out record crowds and inspire $3 Million in donations in 24 or so hours?

        Absolutely. We don't need the Millennial vote, there are more voters coming up after them anyways.

        And I'm a "purist" asking for a "purist" to run? Howzabout just someone who isn't in love with the whole GoldmanSachs wing of the party and who won't lie to his own base?

        (tags: told_you_so, 2014_redux, michael_bennet, conservadem, blue_dogs)

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