The Life of the Party
Bob Beauprez came off the ranch to lead the state GOP, won one of the tightest U.S. Congressional races in history, and now he's the Republican frontrunner in the Colorado governor's race. What would JFK say?
In the small world of Colorado politics, Mike Feeley is now the treasurer for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ritter. When I asked Feeley about Beauprez he was politely coy. "He's a very talented politician," Feeley said. "He's very good at what he does." When I asked Feeley's former campaign manager, Erik Greathouse, about Beauprez he was more direct. "The thing about Bob is that he kind of packages himself, at least to be displayed in public, as someone who is not a radical conservative. He comes back home and plays this farmer-small-town-banker shtick. He dresses well. He's handsome, and he won't say the wrong thing. But the truth is, if you peel back the layers, he's right there with right-leaning Republicans. The average guy who hears him probably doesn't think that."
Since Beauprez has gone to Washington he has voted in lockstep with the Republican majority. But really the "average guy" probably would not find that so surprising. After all, Beauprez is a Republican congressman among a Republican majority on Capitol Hill, serving under a Republican president. And who doesn't know that going along and getting along in D.C. has its rewards? Beauprez's 7th District was recently handed $48 million in federal funds for road construction. That's on top of more than a few million dollars here, like the $3.8 million for a new children's hospital at Fitzsimons, and a few thousand dollars there, like the $38,910 homeland security grant for the Bennett Fire Department.
Keith Ashdown is the vice president of policy for the nonpartisan watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense and has been keeping tabs on Beauprez, and he says when it comes to the congressman's politics there simply aren't that many layers to pull back. "Beauprez is a congressional anecdote that virtually no member will remember," he says. "His was a self-serving two terms in which he got very little done except to create a stepping-stone for his ambitious rise to higher office. He is political milquetoast." What the average guy may find surprising about Bob Beauprez, however, is that he was born and bred a Democrat.