Best Blogs: Political Notebook FEbruary 03, 2009

Colorado GOP develops a local backbench for races

Posted by Mike Saccone at 12:29 p.m. Monday

In case you missed it, the Rothenberg Political Report recently noted a curious trend in U.S. Senate contests over the past several election cycles: “Only six of the 39 Senators who have been elected over the past four cycles were sitting statewide officials. Meanwhile, over the same time period, seven sitting statewide officials lost bids for Senate.
“Former statewide officials make up only nine of the 39 new Senators since 2002, while three former statewide officeholders lost general election bids over the same time period.”
This revelation emerged at the same time sources inside the Colorado Republican Party told the Colorado Statesman it is rebuilding for future election cycles with an eye on its local talent: “Colorado Republican Chair Dick Wadhams agreed, saying that both parties have long used the state Legislature and statewide office as the breeding ground for politicians who eventually make their way to higher office. Bill Owens, Bill Armstrong, Ken Salazar, Mark Udall, Marilyn Musgrave, Mike Coffman and Ben Nighthorse Campbell were only a few who came up through Colorado state government.”
Wadhams cites a series of state leaders who fit just this description: Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, and Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch.
A series of other local leaders also have emerged as possible contenders for statewide office, including former House District 56 candidate Muhammad Ali Hasan, R-Beaver Creek, Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier and former state Sen. Tom Wiens, R-Castle Rock.
If the GOP does turn away from its veterans and toward a newer bench of candidates, the 2010 election cycle could be very interesting.

Posted by Mike Saccone at 10:22 a.m. Monday

Marcia Neal, the 3rd Congressional District’s representative on the State Board of Education, said she hopes the more than $12.7 million School District 51 is projected to receive under the federal economic stimulus package flows through local officials and not around them.
“I think there’s growing concern over this huge amount of money they’re throwing around,” Neal told Political Notebook today. “As always my concern … is the issue of local control. That when you accept money from the feds and they direct the way you spend it, they’re basically directing your local educational program and increasing your dependence on federal money.”
Neal, a Republican, said she hopes the Senate, when it mulls over the economic stimulus package this week, clears up the issue of local control.


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