Former Alaska Governor and former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin was in Denver over the weekend rallying thousands of conservatives with a speech that predictably criticized Washington’s insider Democrats for the nation’s ills (via Fox News). Palin sidestepped Colorado politics during her visit to the University of Denver, but the mood at both state party conventions over the weekend was decidedly anti-establishment.
Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff trounced sitting Senator Michael Bennet at the state Democratic Assembly, taking 60 percent of the vote, according to The Fix blog at The Washington Post. As for the GOP side of the Senate race, Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck cruised past former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton (who had already decided to bypass the convention and petition her way onto the August primary ballot).
In the governor’s race, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper faced no significant threat for the Democratic nod, but Republican businessman Dan Maes, a tea-party friendly candidate, topped the better-financed, former Congressman Scott McInnis, according to the Denver Business Journal.
At stake was top billing on the primary ballot–as well as a bit of pride and grandstanding. For instance, Romanoff’s campaign manager says, “Our 21-point victory represented a bigger margin than we won at the county assemblies just a few weeks ago. It’s a far bigger margin than in any recent Senate contest in Colorado–five times as big as the margin in 2004” (via Politico).
In other races, it appears Democratic Congresswoman Betsy Markey will face Cory Gardner in the 4th Congressional District, as Gardner was the only Republican to win enough votes to get onto the primary ballot (via the Journal). The National Republican Congressional Committee has noticed the victory, promoting Gardner to its top “Young Gun” candidate status, “a sign of the confidence party officials have in his bid,” reports CQ Politics.
In the 7th District, Republicans Ryan Frazier and Lang Sias both won spots in the primary contest to decide who will take on incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter.