Pols Poll 2: U.S. Senate (Republicans)

As we’ve done in other election years, we regularly poll our readers on various races to gauge changing perceptions. These obviously aren’t scientific polls, but they do help to show how the perception of various candidates are changing. We’ll conduct these polls each month and then show the results to see how the winds are shifting.

As always, please vote based on what you think will happen, not on who you would vote for or which candidate you support personally. Think of it this way: If you had to bet the deed to your house, who would you pick?

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for U.S. Senate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Pols Poll: U.S. Senate (Republicans)

With less than a year until the 2010 primaries, it’s time to start the annual Colorado Pols Polls.

As we’ve done in other election years, we regularly poll our readers on various races to gauge changing perceptions. These obviously aren’t scientific polls, but they do help to show how the perception of various candidates are changing. We’ll conduct these polls each month and then show the results to see how the winds are shifting (click to see the Democratic poll).

As always, please vote based on what you think will happen, not on who you would vote for or which candidate you support personally. Think of it this way: If you had to bet the deed to your house, who would you pick?

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for U.S. Senate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Norton Reconsidering Senate Bid?

The hot rumor circulating this morning is that as-yet undeclared GOP Senate candidate Jane Norton had a deal–and now she doesn’t. And when the deal falls though, you usually walk away, don’t you?

As you know, evidence that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was preparing to devote resources to Norton’s campaign–which would have had the effect of severely debilitating primary opponents–caused a major backlash among the Republican rank-and-file last week. By Friday, the situation had gotten to the point that the leading (declared) GOP candidate, Weld County DA Ken Buck, was widely reported to be getting out of the race.

Today, though, everything has changed–Buck is defiantly staying in the race. Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, who everybody we’ve talked to believes was intimately involved in the NRSC’s backroom commitments to Norton, is running away from this debacle as fast as his denials can carry him. The GOP activist base, now sensitized to what almost happened right under their noses, will be watching for any further shenanigans–and they’ve used this opportunity to remind leadership in no uncertain terms what they think of “RINOs” like Jane Norton.

So where does that leave her?

Frankly, it depends–if an agreement for Norton to enter the 2010 Senate race was contingent on clearing the primary field for her, as it was for 2008 Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, she’s now got a very good reason to reconsider. Or she could decide to stay and fight. Given that Norton has been floated as a potential candidate for higher office for years, and has always declined, it wouldn’t shock us if she ultimately decided not to run for Senate.

The word we’re getting–we’ll remind everyone that it’s only a rumor, though on good authority, and people do change their minds regardless–is the backlash of the last few days was considerably more than she bargained for.

The New-Look GOP Field for U.S. Senate

Republicans have lately been dropping in and out of the U.S. Senate race like it’s a student council seat, so we thought it time to take a new look at what’s what now that we’re past the 12 month mark until the primary.

TOP OF THE LINE

  • Former Lt. Governor Jane Norton

  • Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck

    It’s been more than a decade since Colorado last had a female candidate running for a top job (Governor or U.S. Senate), and that gives Norton a big advantage because it makes her interesting. Political campaigns are about telling stories, and the best stories are the ones you haven’t heard before. Norton also has a good background to run on, has deep financial connections, and she’ll cut an attractive image on television.

    That doesn’t mean that Norton is without question marks, however. Norton has been mentioned as a potential candidate for everything from Governor to Congress in the last decade, but she always took a pass on what seemed at the time to be good opportunities. Was she just waiting for the right moment, and felt that 2010 was finally that time? Or is running for office something she really doesn’t feel in her gut? Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has had two monster fundraising quarters, and it’s going to take a lot of effort to be able to catch up to him.

    As for Buck, he’s been working hard and was the only GOP candidate to raise any kind of legitimate money in the first fundraising period. He’s sufficiently conservative enough (and probably too far to the right, for a general election, frankly) to win a primary, but what’s the best-case scenario here? This was Buck’s nomination to lose until the GOP found someone better, which may have just happened with Norton. While Buck has been putting in the shoe leather and doing his damndest to make a real run at this, his ceiling just isn’t that high. Buck is what he is, but can he ever be more than that?

    THEORETICAL CONTENDER

  • Former State Sen. Tom Wiens
  • When Wiens resigned from the Senate a few years ago, the working assumption was that he was going to devote himself full-time to a run for Governor. At the time, Wiens had the credentials and the personal wealth to make a strong bid in 2010, but a lot has changed in less than two years. For one thing, Wiens is widely rumored to be having personal financial troubles, which makes it tough to run statewide for dogcatcher. Wiens has also been off the grid for a little too long now; when he first resigned, he could have moved quickly into an exploratory campaign for Governor and kept his name ID and conservative credentials at the forefront of voter’s minds. But now?

    If everything lined up right, we think Wiens could be a potentially tough candidate. But it doesn’t look like anything is lining up correctly at this point, and we have real doubts that Wiens will even be an official candidate three months from now.

    NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME

  • Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier
  • It made sense for Frazier to take a shot here-it really did. With no obvious candidate on the GOP side and a little-known incumbent, this was as good a year as there has ever been for an unknown candidate to emerge from nowhere. For a time Frazier had even managed to generate a good deal of excitement among a group of Republicans, but then reality hit. In his first full fundraising quarter, Frazier went out and laid an egg, raising a paltry $140k (compared to $330k for Buck and $1.2 million for Bennet). And that was that.

    Frazier’s campaign isn’t completely dead, but it’s definitely on life-support. His only real chance at winning the nomination was to come out strong and show people that he really had what it took to be a statewide player despite a tiny resume. When he didn’t do that, top GOP supporters started looking elsewhere.

    Someone who was just an Aurora city council member should never have even been considered for the U.S. Senate, and there was no harm in trying to seize the moment. But that moment has definitely passed, and with Norton’s entry into the race, there really isn’t room for Frazier anymore.

    And please, don’t mention that Frazier has done well in straw polls. Nobody cares.

    CLEVE TIDWELL DIVISION

  • Businessman Cleve Tidwell
  • Um, yeah.

    Beauprez’s Out, Which Means Norton’s In

    From Politics West:

    Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will not run for the U.S. Senate, he said in an email to supporters this afternoon.

    “Having been presented with the potential to serve in the United States Senate, Claudia and I considered it very carefully. However after significant reflection, I will not be a candidate for the Senate in 2010,” he wrote.

    His decision leaves four GOP candidates: Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, Evergreen businessman Dan Maes and Cleve Tidwell of Denver. Last week, the Denver Post reported that former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is also looking at entering the GOP field.

    Let’s face it: Beauprez isn’t running because he looked around, considered various staffers, and finally realized what we’d been saying for a long time. He. Can’t. Win.

    It’s no secret that Beauprez has been wanting to get back into politics since 2006, but he’s still way too much damaged goods.

    Meanwhile, Jane Norton’s Senate bid is basically a lock at this point. Everybody’s talking about it. Democrats we’ve talked to this evening seem awfully confident, like they know something we don’t know. That’s likely to be the case for a majority of Colorado voters, a good percentage of whom probably think her first name is Gale. Though to be fair, voters could think her first name was “Ken,” and it’s still a positive for her. Name ID is name ID, especially in a GOP primary–and general election–where nobody knows anybody.

    And for all the buzz about “salvation,” we kind of doubt Ken Buck sees it that way–and he’s probably the one extant candidate we’re not writing off yet.

    UPDATE: We omitted Cleve Tidwell from our original post. We regret the error. Deeply.

    Ken Buck for…Wait, What?

    UPDATE: Politics West confirming, it wasn’t a misprint:

    Buck isn’t ready to make any announcements – he’s still talking to his fellow GOP types – but he’s considering challenging the newly appointed Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet for U.S. Senate come 2010.

    “It’s fair to say I’m considering a run for one of them, but I’m looking more closely at the Senate race,” Buck said. He plans to announce in April.

    Sure, a former D.A. is now Governor, but Bill Ritter was the Denver District Attorney, which gets considerably more press and name recognition than any other district attorney. If Buck is seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate, then the GOP is in trouble. Buck would be one of the few candidates they could run who would have less name ID than Michael Bennet.

    Original post follows…

    Interesting scoop from something called The Holyoke Enterprise. We’re guessing they don’t even know what they just reported:

    Starting early to strategize election wins in 2010, Phillips County Republicans gathered a large turnout at the annual Lincoln Day Soup, Salad and Pie Social Sunday, March 1…

    …Also speaking to the Republican delegation were Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who will announce he’s running for U.S. Senate in April [Pols emphasis]; and Cleve Tidwell, an exploratory gubernatorial candidate who plans to announce his intent to run for governor very soon.

    We don’t have any idea who the hell Cleve Tidwell is, let alone why he would run for Governor. But Weld County D.A. Ken Buck was widely expected to run for congress against Rep. Betsy Markey in CD-4. Perhaps that’s what the Holyoke Whatever meant to say, but if not, it looks like Buck just got announced for U.S. Senate.

    Buck could be an interesting candidate in CD-4, but running for Senate seems to be just a little bit of a reach. And announcing a Senate run in front of 90 people – well, that’s silly. Unless he’s following the Bob Schaffer plan of announcing, over and over and over, running for Senate.