**Update 4–Ken Buck is not dropping out of the race for US Senate (via Facebook):
Hey all I wanted to reassure everyone that it’s full steam ahead for my campaign for the U.S. Senate. While other candidates may still jump in the Senate race, one thing is clear – our party’s nominee will be chosen by Colorado’s grassroots Republicans, not by political operatives in Washington D.C. See you guys at the next GOP function!
**Update 3–Chairman Dick Wadhams issued this statement earlier today:
COLORADO’S U.S. SENATE RACE AND THE NRSC
You have heard me speak and write many times how strongly I believe in a competitive, open and fair process for the Republican nomination for any office from county commissioner to governor.
We have several outstanding candidates for U.S. Senate who will ultimately be strengthened by rigorous debate and competition in our nomination process.
There has been a lot of discussion in the past few days alleging that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is endorsing a specific candidate.
I can absolutely state that the NRSC will not endorse in our Colorado Republican nomination process for the U.S. Senate.
The NRSC is critical to our ability to win this 2010 Senate race and I have tremendous confidence in the NRSC Chairman, U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and his professional staff. We will be working closely with the NRSC over the coming months so that our eventual nominee will be in the strongest position possible to win in November 2010.
On a side note, I hope you saw Saturday’s news reports that former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is going to run against the appointed, accidental senator, Michael Bennet, for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
**Update 2–The backlash grows:
The chairman of the Colorado Republican Party says he plans to inform a national GOP group today that it created a “backlash” by registering two domain names for potential U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton.
Dick Wadhams pointed to a rash of e-mails during the weekend among Colorado Republicans who are upset with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which they believe is playing favorites in the crowded 2010 primary field.
The backlash is so strong, Republican sources say, that Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck might stay in the Senate race after all. He had been expected to withdraw today.
Buck could not be reached for comment.
. . .
“I fully intend to let them know that Colorado Republicans expect to select their nominee themselves without the endorsement of outside groups,” Wadhams said Sunday.
“There is a backlash. You can see it in the e-mail traffic.”
**Update–Colorado GOP County chairs and Chairman Dick Wadhams are on board (from the Facebook page):
I had a long conversation with Chairman Wadhams today and he assured me that he conveyed our sentiment to the NRSC to stay out of the process until after the primary. Chairman Wadhams stated that there is a backlash arising and the NRSC is doing more harm than good for former Lt. Governor Norton.
Thanks for all of you support by joining this group and forwarding email. This “controversy” shows our unity and support for the democratic process. Please do not take any premature actions by the NRSC against Jane Norton and consider her as you would any of the excellent Republican candidates running for Senate.
Please be assured, that our Chairman and committee-persons resonate with our concerns and they have conveyed this message to the RNC and NRSC.
Chairman, Boulder County Republicans
Are you tired of out-of-state influences on primary races?
Do you believe that the voters of any party–Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans–should be able to choose their own candidates to represent them in elections, and not a national organization?
Are Colorado voters better suited to determine their party’s candidates than national, DC-based political organizations?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions (or more likely yes on all three), then you should consider joining this Facebook petition, whether you are a Republican, Libertarian, unaffiliated, or yes, even a Democrat!
We oppose any and all efforts – overt or covert – of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to clear the field of candidates so it can anoint former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton to win the 2010 primary election.
We regret the loss of candidates who have succumbed to the NRSC’s strong-arm efforts, robbing many citizens of a candidate to support. We stand behind the candidates who are in this race to win it, regardless of the opinions of the party elite.
We have very legitimate concerns about Norton that first should be tested on a level campaign playing field first, including but not limited to the following:
* She has never won elected office on her own
* Her limited fundraising track record has been less than stellar
* As lieutenant governor, she supported the largest tax increase in Colorado history
* She largely has been invisible since her term in office, showing no party leadership nor speaking out on the major issues of the day affecting Coloradans
Regardless of the candidates involved, we oppose any and all interference by the NRSC in Colorado Republican politics to anoint winners or losers in the 2010 primary race. Until the NRSC desists from its current interference and openly declares neutrality in this contest, we pledge to withhold any and all support from the NRSC and to urge others publicly to do the same.
We look forward to partnering with the NRSC after August 10, 2010, to support the Republican candidate chosen by the state’s party supporters and voters through the fair and open primary process. Until then, we look forward to the NRSC butting out and allowing us to choose the candidate who best represents us.
In the end, this really isn’t just about the GOP or the NRSC.
It is about the freedom of voters in each state to determine their party’s candidates without the influence, intervention, strong-arming, or backing of “insiders” from DC, the vaunted “party elite,” or anyone else.
This applies freely to all political parties and all 50 states.
Colorado looks to have two hotly contested Senatorial primaries for what is essentially an open seat (Sen. Michael Bennet having been appointed, and thus not an incumbent).
Neither race should be fixed before August 10th of next year, when Republicans and Democrats (and newly registered voters, or those who have changed their affiliations) will have the chance to determine who will face off in November.
Bennet vs. Norton?
Romanoff vs. Frazier?
Who knows? August 10 is 11 months away, and Colorado voters have yet to come to know Sen. Michael Bennet all that well, let alone any of his potential challengers within or outside his party.
If Coloradans can’t decide for themselves who their candidates will be, then why the hell have the vote?
The time for anointed candidates and political entitlements is over.
Send the NRSC and other potential kingmakers a lesson–join the Facebook petition (if you’re on FB) or leave us a comment below–and please, tell your friends.
How do folks feel? Take a look:
Please forward to Rob Jesmer & Sen. Cornyn,
As a registered Republican, Colorado resident & grassroots activist – I hope that this rumor isn’t true.
“A well-placed rumor is circulating that the National Republican Senatorial Committee is planning to endorse former lieutenant governor Jane Norton upon her official entry into Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate primary in the next few weeks.”
The overwhelming sentiment of most conservatives that I have met is that they are not being represented by either party in Washington. That the power brokers & “Old Guard” are out of touch and keep backing candidates that cannot win. They cannot even bring in Republicans, let alone the crucial unaffiliateds.
All those town hall people? They have woken up & want to have a say in who they send to Washington.
If you stack the deck & back ANYONE before the primary process – you will be driving conservative voters AWAY from the Republican party. I’m sure this isn’t your goal.
Our group, R Block Party, is dedicated to “building the bench” in Colorado – from City Council on up. We believe that building the bench means not only the candidates, but the volunteer support as well. We want people to be invested in their candidates and the process. And one of the ways to do that? Let them choose.
Help us realize our goal of putting forward Republicans that voters can get behind and support.
Let us pick our own candidate.
The energy is out there. Please don’t thwart it.
R Block Party
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