Tea Party Promises and Empty Talking Points May Doom Neville

Republican Scott Tipton got elected to Congress in 2010 in part by saying pretty much whatever the hell he wanted to say without any real eyebrow raising from GOP supporters. But since he hasn’t been able to come close to accomplishing, well, anything he promised, the right-wing and Tea Party factions of the GOP are pretty pissed off.

This is a lesson that new Republican state senator Tim Neville may want to remember. Neville upset state Rep. Jim Kerr last week for the right to replace Mike Kopp, who resigned from SD-22 to spend more time with his family. Neville seems destined to face a primary next summer, which could be as nasty as the 2006 battle that got Kopp elected over the appointed Kiki Traylor, and if he does, he’ll probably half some serious ‘splaining to do. Neville won the vacancy by promising unicorns and rainbows to the GOP faithful, as The Colorado Statesman notes:

He promised to “pass a Right to Work law in this state,” said it was time to “put an end to illegal immigration in this state” and vowed to stop “Gov. John Hickenlooper’s sanctuary city policy.” He also promised: “I will fight to protect our rights to keep and bear arms” and pledged to “oppose all tax increases, even those disguised as fees.”

Uh, yeah. Good luck with all that. Kerr was more judicious in his promises, in large part because he’s been in the legislature for nearly 8 years and has an idea of what you can actually accomplish; his reluctance to promise the moon may have cost him the vacancy appointment, but at least he wasn’t going to throw out empty platitudes. Come next summer, plenty of potential Republican candidates will be able to point to Neville’s nonsense with extravagant promises of their own…and this will all start back up again, and again, and again.

Because of the timing of Kopp’s exit, SD-22 will see consecutive elections in 2012 and 2014, which opens up what could be a long and vicious cycle of Tea Party talking points nonsense. Kopp, in fact, seemed resigned to at least a primary in 2012:

“I don’t want to prognosticate too early, however, the maps I saw of this district lead me to believe the real fight will be a family feud, a primary type of fight,” he said, and then he hastened to add: ” I’m not saying there will be, I’m not encouraging that, but if there’s going to be a fight, that’s where it’s going to be.”

We wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Neville, like Traylor in 2006, only lasted one session in the legislature before being ousted in a primary (although for entirely different reasons than Traylor, who was a moderate candidate). Republican supporters were apparently enamored with Neville’s “leadership” in the 2011 Jefferson County School Board races, oddly ignoring the fact that the two Republican-backed candidates were absolutely destroyed at the ballot box. Preston Branaugh and Jim Powers were both awful candidates who ran awful campaigns; if Neville was indeed instrumental in that fiasco, it doesn’t bode well for his 2012 prospects.