2010 Midterm What-ifs: Was Ken Buck Really a Better GOP Pick Than Jane Norton?

November 8 2010, 10:30 AM

While some tea-party candidates across the nation fared well in last week's elections, sparking activism among Republicans and other conservatives, they lost momentum in Colorado, The Pueblo Chieftain points out. Republican nominee and scandal-prone political newbie Dan Maes failed miserably in his campaign for governor. And another tea-party favorite, prosecutor Ken Buck, was edged out by Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet in the race for U.S. Senate.

"I think in the short-term, it clearly is a negative," former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm, co-director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies at the University of Denver, tells The Greeley Tribune of the movement's impact. "I think it gave us Dan Maes and a contentious primary in the Senate race...Clearly, a moderate Republican, in a year like this, under the right circumstances, could have carried both offices."

Newsweek agrees in an analysis of tea-party races across the nation, writing that it "seems plausible" that former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, who was regarded by many as more moderate than Buck, "might have beaten Bennet."

Of course, that's all speculative. Besides, Colorado's tea partiers are done licking their wounds and are already gunning to do better in 2012. They plan on "playing nicer with establishment Republicans," and "they want to get better at vetting candidates," writes The Denver Post. Also, "they hope their members are less 'extreme' on social issues" and focus more on fiscal matters.