Here in Colorado, we had a lackluster GOP Senate candidate, Ken Buck, to run against Democrat incumbent Mark Udall. Buck ran and lost in 2010 against Michael Bennet, in a campaign mostly noteworthy for Buck’s ability to piss everybody the heck off — including the Tea Party, which formed his core support. Buck wasn’t expected to fare any better against Udall in this fall than he did against Bennet four years ago. It’s a pretty safe bet that even Buck recognized he would be little more than his party’s sacrificial lamb.
A few weeks ago, GOP Congressman Cory Gardner executed a very nice maneuver in which he was able to get Buck to step gracefully aside, along with two other even weaker GOP contenders. Gardner now has the Republican primary to himself, something like party unity for the first time in a decade, and a real shot at knocking off Udall. Of all the currently “Leans D” or “Safe D” senate races as rated by the pros, Colorado might now be the one mostly likely to shift to “Tossup.”
How did Politico play up its behind-the-scenes report of Gardner’s ascension?
It was a “bloodless coup” in the “GOP civil war” by a candidate whose “staunchly conservative record” might “disqualify him” even though his party’s prospects have “brightened” thanks in part to “a barrage of TV ads by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.”
And that’s just the opening salvo.
The long, hot summer began in March and it won’t end until November.