As most Republicans would love to oust Democratic Governor Bill Ritter, it seems the two frontrunners from their party, Scott McInnis and Josh Penry, are focusing more on each other lately. Penry (pictured top) wants his old boss, former Congressman McInnis, to agree to a formal debate. Simple as that.
McInnis, meanwhile, has limited his direct exchanges with Penry and has said he’d never agree to a full-on debate, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, leaving Penry with strong words.
“We’re not going to win this race on the front porch, having an iced tea,” says Penry.
Dick Wadhams, the GOP’s state chairman, has even been pulled into the muck, stating that McInnis avoids debate “at his own peril.”
McInnis, considered the frontrunner, recently told a meeting of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women that sitting governors running for re-election are hard to unseat and that it is critical for the GOP to unify:
“In the past, unfortunately, we kind of formed circular firing squads.”
Denver Post columnist Fred Brown notes that Republicans aren’t exactly eager for debate either—at least they weren’t at the forum, where members of the audience “admonished candidates not to get too personal.”
But the announcement of a running mate is always a good distraction, and the Colorado Springs Independent reports McInnis may have tapped a well-liked political dynamo in her part of the state: El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark. Clark can’t confirm it, but she’s not denying it either.