Colorado elections: Conservatives won while Liberal Republicans lost
Though the media isn't reporting this November’s election this way, the simple fact is that pro-gun conservatives are about the only candidates who survived the Democrat landslide of 2006.
Even a cursory look at the winners from this year’s General Election show that the Republican elected officials are getting more pro-gun -- and Republican compromisers can't win.
Congressional District 4: Marilyn Musgrave (who ran an amendment this year to get rid of the federal trigger locks compromise cut by the NRA) survived a tough and extremely expensive challenge. With more than $4 million spent against her, Marilyn Musgrave defeated anti-gun Democrat Angie Paccione, who had regularly voted against gun rights while in the state legislature.
Congressional District 5: Finally, after 20 years of do-nothing Joel Hefley occupying a seat, Colorado Springs now has a hardcore pro-gun conservative in Doug Lamborn. Lamborn defeated a number of weak, moderate candidates, including Jeff Crank, who El Paso County insiders say was being privately advised by arch gun-blamer GOP consultant Steve Durham. Lamborn been nothing short of a hero while serving 12 years in the state legislature, and we expect even better while he is in Congress.
State Legislature: Mike Kopp handily won a State Senate seat after narrowly defeating a liberal incumbent in the primary.
Gun-hater Tom Mauser worked tirelessly -- and in vain -- to defeat Kopp, who represents the Columbine area. Kopp had defeated moderate incumbent Senator Kiki Traylor in the primary by a slim margin, only to watch liberal Republicans jump ship and work for the Democrat. When Mauser and company started attacking 82nd Airborne Sgt. Kopp for his pro-gun stances, liberal Republicans (again, the name Steve Durham surfaces) advised the Republican party to jump ship and assume all was lost. RMGO’s Political Action Committee dove in heavily with mail, phones and grassroots support to help Kopp win the general election handily.
In Weld County Scott Renfroe was a dark horse from the day he decided to run for Senate District 13, which was being vacated by State Sen. Dave Owen. The Republican muckety-mucks had already picked State Rep. Dale Hall (R-Greeley) as the replacement, despite his liberal positions virtually every issue important to voters in that conservative district.
Gov. Bill Owens, and almost every high –ranking official in the GOP, endorsed Dale Hall, including the NRA. In the end it was Hall’s anti-gun voting record that defeated him: Hall had voted for the statewide database of concealed carry permit holders, and had even sponsored a bill in 2006 to give the BATFE more power in Colorado. Renfroe, an RMGO member, defeated Hall in the primary and a Ward Churchhill clone in the general.
To top off the Senate, Vermont law proponent Sen. Greg Brophy won an easy race in Northeastern Colorado, and State Rep. Dave Schultheis cruised to victory in El Paso county to secure Lamborn’s open State Senate seat. State Rep. Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch beat a millionaire in the primary and easily won his Douglas County Senate seat in November. This core of constitutionalists form a solid base in the Senate, even if the Democrats retain control.
On the State House side, Kent Lambert joins with conservatives Cory Gardner (who carried our Make My Day expansion law last year) and David Balmer, among others. As of the writing of this article the fate of State Rep. Bill Crane (R-Arvada) is still unknown. Some will remember that Crane has carried legislation to get rid of the statewide database of concealed carry permit holders.
All of these candidates stood firmly for our gun rights in primaries and general elections, and they were rewarded with a seat.
Many of these candidates were told, as they were considering whether to run for office, that their pro-gun views would make them vulnerable should they win a primary and face a Democrat in November. All of these predictions were proven false.
There are also some lessons learned by defeat, though you won't read this in the papers either:
Bob Beauprez followed the same old, failed strategy as so many high-level GOP statewide candidates have: act like a conservative when you face a primary, but move sharply to the middle afterward.
And while the NRA and CSSA spent much of their time explaining why Bill Ritter is bad on guns (he is terrible, no doubt), they failed to mention that Bob Beauprez actually signed the 2000 SAFE ballot initiative to close the so-called "gun show loophole." That alone should give gun owners reason for pause, and it did.
What Beauprez, and other establishment types in the GOP, don't get is that though gun owners often vote on the lesser of two evils in cases like this, they don't put their heart and soul into races where there is no clear hero. That means less volunteers, less coffee shop enthusiasm and less money. Yes, we usually vote Republican, but we aren't force multipliers the way we are when we are excited about a solidly pro-gun candidate.
The people who run Trailhead and those in their orbit (mostly Gov. Owens' people, like Katie Atkinson) are also big losers in this election. For the second election in a row, they proved they don't know how to win elections. During the primary they attempted to scare conservatives away from running primaries. Not only did their more liberal candidates lose the primary, but their predictions also did not come true (that conservatives winning primaries means they'll lose the general election). If that's the case, why did Bob Beauprez trail the down-ticket conservatives within a given district?
The lesson of the GOP defeats: the establishment (which often tells good guys to "moderate" their stance on guns) is a lead anchor, and their ideas are failing the GOP. “Moderation” excites no one, and only serves to further the ambitions of weak-kneed politicians, rather than rewarding heroes who fight for our issues.
A one-line synopsis of last night's results are: Moderate/liberal Republicans lost, while conservative, pro-gun Republicans won.
Now it's time to get ready to endure the Democrat party in full power in Colorado. Their consultants have been telling them for a number of years that gun control is a loser for their party, and should be left alone. We'll see if Democrats heed that advice.