UPDATE: Bartels revises her initial report–Sen. Ted Harvey now says he will indeed resign his Senate seat if elected GOP chairman.
That’s the word from Lynn Bartels at the Denver paper’s blog: state Sen. Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch announced today that he will challenge Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams for his well-paid position at party leadership elections in March. Sen. Harvey has worked in recent years to raise his profile among party activists at all levels; from helping his fellow legislators on campaigns, to a prominent role in ousting the Douglas County School Board in 2009.
Harvey is not required to resign his Senate seat should he defeat Wadhams; we could see that working in his favor when it comes time for GOP activists to chart their course due to his hands-on experience. Or, just like they whispered about Wadhams’ taking on additional responsibilities while serving as chairman…it could work against him.
Bottom line? We’re not as sure that Sen. Harvey represents the kind of risk to Wadhams that other Republican possibilities discussed in recent weeks likely would if they got in the race, but Harvey is going to pose a real challenge. Harvey is a credible enough figure to mount a successful campaign, and he has a couple of things going for him:
For one thing, Harvey is likely to receive the support of most GOP elected officials, which matters because they all have a vote in the decision (remember, it’s not just those county chairs and other locally-elected insiders who get to vote on this). The other advantage for Harvey is one that a lot of Republicans we know are seeking above everything else–his name isn’t Dick Wadhams.
When we wrote earlier this month about Wadhams’ decision to run for re-election, we noted that it was likely that Wadhams would not have announced a bid unless he already knew what the result might be. We’ve since learned that we were perhaps giving Wadhams too much credit; there’s a very strong opinion in high-level GOP circles that Wadhams is running for re-election because he has no place else to go. If that’s the case, the Harvey-Wadhams showdown could be a heck of a lot of fun to watch.