"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Top 5 Primaries to Watch (Revised)


First off, I apologize for the lapse between posts, things have been crazy lately!
Some time ago, I posted my “Top 5” Primary picks. It’s a new quarter and things have changed so it’s about time to update the list… Below are the Top 5 Primaries that I will be watching throughout Colorado, along with an update for any primary that is new or has moved off the list. Do you agree with my picks? Disagree? Do you have any primaries that you're watching? Please let me know!

Moving off the radar: Congressional District 4
Moving onto the radar: State Treasurer
5. County Commissioner District 5- While it seems like every registered Republican is running for the nomination to take on presumptive Democratic candidate Mike Merrifield for this seat, not all candidates are running equally. The only candidate making any real moves at the nomination (aside from showing up at the occasional event) at this point is State Board of Education member Peggy Littleton. Despite that fact, I don’t think that the field will narrow much between now and the caucuses as some of the candidates are so quixotic that I don’t think they recognize their own weaknesses.

4. Senate District 10- It’s difficult to gauge how active Tom McDowell’s candidacy is; on one hand he says he’s campaigning every day but on the other I’ve seen reports of him subbing key advocacy groups who have reached out to him. Despite this and McDowell’s odd campaign strategy, Sen. Schultheis’s campaign has been quiet and doesn’t seem to have geared up. Regardless, this race will continue to be interesting and should be worth watching.

3. U.S. Senate- In the past this race was rated based on the fact that the field was so incredibly open that the winner would really have earned it and thus would be interesting to watch. However, the race has been turned on its head with the entry of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, and she has to be considered the front-runner at this point. That hasn’t stopped Councilman Ryan Frazier and D.A. Ken Buck from staying in the race. The unanswered question at this point is whether Frazier and Buck add constructive or destructive elements to the primary. Either way, this is one to watch.

2. This quarter will determine whether this race stays this high up on the top 5 list. Walker Stapleton wowed just about everybody with his 138k raised last quarter--almost twice as much as the Democrat-- putting him squarely in the driver’s seat at this point. But JJ Ament can’t be written off at this point either, and this quarter is going to be very important for him. If he can raise the same kind of cash as Stapleton, we’re looking at a great primary and general election fight that will be hard to top. If Ament can’t raise the money, then this race might fade a bit but given the fact that both candidates are high quality I don’t see that happening.
1. Last time I said that the gubernatorial primary wasn’t higher on the list because the field hadn’t taken shape yet. Well, now that Penry has jumped in it’s hard to view this as anything other then the race to watch this primary season. The two major candidates have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses (i.e.-contrasts) and I don’t think there is going to be any shortages of punches thrown.

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