28 April 2016

Blaha and Frazier Fail To Make Colorado GOP Senate Primary

The primary in the race to be the Republican candidate to oppose incumbent Democrat Michael Bennett will have just two candidates:

* Daryll Glenn, an African-American former military office who was the sole candidate to make it on the ballot via the caucus process (and who will command the top line on the ballot as a result) who has raised almost nothing for his campaign so far, and

* Jack Graham, a retired insurance salesman and former CSU athletic director who has raised more money than any other candidate and is one of the most liberal GOP candidates in the state (and was a Democrat until not so long ago), who got onto the ballot by Petition.  By the end of March he'd raced about $300,000 and loaned himself another $1,000,000, although a big chunk of that was spent to get on the ballot via the petition process.

Neither of them have ever previously held any elected office.  CORRECTION: Glenn in an El Paso County Commissioner.  Graham is a first time candidate.  I apologize for the inadvertent error. Glenn's political experience may give him an edge over Graham in addition to his conservative bona fides.  Advantage Glenn. END CORRECTION.

These are the only two candidates who will appear on the ballot because the other three candidates who tried to petition onto the ballot Keyser, Blaha and Frazier all failed to submit enough signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State to get on the ballot.  Both will probably appeal this decision, but Blaha and Frazier each have bigger shortfalls than Keyser did and will be hard pressed to win an appeal.

An unnamed legal expert thinks Keyser will get back on the ballot when a judge rules in his challenge tomorrow.  I am far more skeptical.

Primary election ballots must be turned in by voters by June 28, 2016, and given Colorado's penchant for mail in ballots, many will be cast far sooner.  The remainder of the Republican U.S. Senate campaign in Colorado, now that we finally know who will be on the ballot (subject to appeals in the next few days) will be highly compressed.

The primary will tell whether conservative politics and political experience (which clearly favor Glenn) or money and name recognition (which favor Graham) matter more in the GOP primary.

Incumbent Senator Michael Bennet has lots of things going for him in this race.  He has a mountain of campaign funds.  He has more and more relevant political experience than either candidate.  He can legitimately say that anything that the unpopular Congress has done is not his fault.  He can benefit for Hillary Clinton's coattails and from the generally higher Presidential year voter turnout that usually favors Democrats.  He has a statewide campaign network in place and ready to go.  He doesn't have to fight off a primary contestant so had can campaign as a moderate Democrat just as he has governed.

On the other hand, neither Glenn nor Graham are your run of the mill Republican candidates. The political winds seem to be favoring outsiders this year.  And, no race other than the Presidential race will get more free media this year in Colorado, so a lack of funds is somewhat less of a handicap.

Still, both of these candidates are clearly from the Republican B team and both face long odds to win in November this year.

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