The big question facing Republicans is whether the party’s new national chairman, Michael Steele, is right to declare his party is back and better than ever. “Republicans are rising once again with the energy, the focus and the determination to turn our timeless principles into new solutions for the future,” Steele has said (via Salon), adding that “the corner has been turned.”

Though Steele lacks concrete evidence that Republicans are, in fact, on the rebound after historic losses to Democrats in recent elections, Colorado party chairman Dick Wadhams admits it took time for him to warm to Steele and is now a “solid supporter.”

Republican recovery in Colorado, though, is another thing. Real Clear Politics notes the party would benefit if there were more rising stars like Cory Gardner, an attorney who worked for former U.S. Senator Wayne Allard. Gardner will face University of Colorado Regent Tom Lucero in a party battle to oppose U.S. Representative Betsy Markey, a Democrat who last year trounced incumbent Marilyn Musgrave in the 4th Congressional District.

Gardner’s decision to run comes as no surprise to politics watchers, writes The Colorado Statesman.