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?
Having left his father's political party, Beauprez finally washed the ranch dirt of his dad's profession from his hands in 1989. By then, arthritis had forced Joe Beauprez into retirement, and Bob Beauprez sold off most of their acreage to developers who used the land to build 1,500 homes and the Indian Peaks Golf Course.
With his proceeds from the sale of the cattle-roughly $250,000-Beauprez bought himself a Louisville bank. No more ranching and cattle and manure. Now he was the banker who gave loans, not the rancher who applied for them. No more bib overalls for this Beauprez. He now wore a tie, like those IBM execs of his youth. Beauprez was a businessman-a Republican businessman. His dad voted for Carter, but he voted for Reagan. He became more involved in the state GOP, and with his Rolodex of well-heeled business contacts-and his inside knowledge of whose bank accounts were flush-he became a fund-raising star. In 1997 Beauprez was named chairman of the Boulder County Republicans.
Party officials realized quickly that Beauprez was more than a moneyman. He had grit and personality. They could see Beauprez knew a good line of bulls and a good line of bull; that he understood the rural folks and he could relate to the chamber of commerce crowd. In 1998, when the chairman of the state GOP refused to publicly endorse Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Owens and threw the party into a tizzy, Beauprez was seen as the natural choice to take over as party boss.
"He united the party," says Larry Liston, a longtime Colorado Springs Republican and now a state representative from El Paso County. "I remember I went up to him and I said, 'Would you come down to El Paso and speak with us?' At that time myself and my colleagues were setting up small luncheons. A lot of these people say sure and then once they're the chairman decide they don't have the time and can't. He came, and we were all impressed. He spoke from his heart and created a tremendously good impression. He's good and personable with people. He's comfortable being around blue-collar Republicans-the people on the Eastern Plains and Western Slope-types. And he's right of center of most political figures."