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Is Josh Penry the State GOP’s “Best Bricklayer”?

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penry-joshScott McInnis just can’t seem to catch a break. This time, the former Republican congressman running for governor is contending with Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post’s Fix—or, rather, is not contending with him. Cillizza’s attention is focused instead on state Senator Josh Penry, a former aid to McInnis.

Cillizza writes that Penry may well represent the future of the Republican Party in Colorado, adding that the 33-year-old could “be the best bricklayer” that the state’s flagging GOP has at the moment. Also, Penry is “not shy about admitting the mistakes” the party made in Washington, D.C., and in Colorado in recent years.

Penry tells Cillizza, “Republicans have lost credibility as a governing party,” particularly among moderates who lean to the right. He calls on “limited, focused, disciplined government that isn’t all things to all people but does the things it should do well.”

The Colorado Independent isn’t impressed by Cillizza’s column, writing that a story by The Denver Post provides a clearer picture of the issues raised by Penry’s candidacy. Specifically, the article addresses a conflict between Penry and Democratic Governor Bill Ritter over the closure of a facility for developmentally disabled patients in Grand Junction, Penry’s hometown.

“Penry oozed sympathy for the plight of the patients, which was dutifully reported by the local paper, along with Penry’s more general critiques of Ritter’s governing decisions,” the Independent writes. “Relatives of patients were left with the strong impression that Penry supported keeping the facility open.”

Meanwhile, The Colorado Statesman notes that a skirmish between McInnis’ campaign and party leadership “threatens to cast a veil of intra-party divisiveness that could ultimately affect the outcome of the race.”

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