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El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn gives two thumbs up during the U.S. Senate Republican Primary, Tuesday, June 28, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colo. —Photo by Stacie Scott / The Gazette via AP

Opinion: Pondering Darryl Glenn’s Non-Candidacy

The GOP Senate nominee has gone from conservative firebrand to the man who wasn't there.

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Much like his party’s presidential nominee, Colorado GOP Senate candidate Darryl Glenn often seems to be campaigning in a way that suggests he doesn’t actually want the job.

Like Donald Trump, Glenn has eschewed most notions that political compromise is a virtue; Glenn has taken this intransigence even further than Trump, if that’s possible, by saying that Democrats are evil.

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Like Trump, Glenn has blackballed media outlets he doesn’t care for, namely, the Denver Post, Colorado’s largest newspaper. He also declined to participate in a debate against incumbent Senator Michael Bennet that the Post was to co-sponsor with Denver 7.

Unlike Trump, Glenn has a fondness for Ted Cruz, suggesting that the notoriously divisive Senator would make a great Supreme Court justice.

This view and some of Glenn’s other positions—climate change denial, a desire to abolish the Department of Education, and his extreme pro-life stance, among others—aren’t exactly novel. Plenty of people in the GOP’s basest base hold these same views; it’s just not clear that enough of them live in Colorado to give Glenn a path to victory.

Although late-summer polls are a mixed bag at best, the ones we do have show Senator Bennet with a lead that’s gone from clear to commanding since July. It doesn’t help that Glenn’s getting almost no funding help from the national party.

Perhaps it’s admirable that Glenn, an Air Force veteran, has soldiered on without bending an inch on any of his policies and beliefs. It’s also woefully out of touch with an electorate in Colorado that’s more independent than either Democratic or Republican. Even the GOP’s own strategists are perplexed about Glenn’s failure, if not outright refusal, to try to appeal to a broader group of voters.

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While it’s true that citizens everywhere are ticked off at Washington and demanding significant changes to our political systems, this isn’t the Tea Party paradise of 2010 or 2014. Presidential election years attract far more people to the voting booths, and thus far more moderates.

Two years ago, Cory Gardner rode that Tea Party momentum (and took advantage of a lackluster Mark Udall campaign) to win his Senate seat. But Glenn’s no-apologies conservatism would have been a tough sell even then. Today, it’s not resonating with anyone outside the far right. This leaves Senator Bennet, who has his critics but nothing resembling a scandal to dodge, in a very favorable position as Glenn and his dwindling, uninspired allies quietly limp toward Election Day.

Follow 5280 editor-at-large Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.

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