Keyser, Frazier, Glenn, Graham & Blaha — what's going on here? Is this a noisy, self-promoting and lethally obnoxious personal injury law firm? Five fugitives from justice sought by the FBI? Nope, just five men seeking the Republican senatorial nomination to run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in the general election.
They're not well known statewide, although the two from Colorado Springs, Robert Blaha and Darryl Glenn, have a certain local notoriety. Jack Graham, Jon Keyser and Ryan Frazier are better known north of Monument Hill. All of their resumés may be a little thin, but none lack confidence.
Voters should have their mailed ballots. In two weeks we'll know which eager warrior will be the GOP's designated spear-carrier.
For some registered Republicans, it's a no-win situation. Two years ago, Congressman Cory Gardner gave up a safe seat in the House to take on Sen. Mark Udall and whupped him good. It was possible to imagine that another alpha Republican might step to the plate, vanquish Bennet and turn Colorado from pale purple to dark red. Names surfaced: John Suthers and Congressmen Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton. They all passed.
Why? Suthers wanted to serve his floundering hometown, and he may have preferred the short commute — more pleasant to drive from Skyway to downtown than to fly from COS to D.C. Tipton and Coffman may have looked at turnout in presidential elections and concluded the decks were stacked against low-profile Republicans.
One among the not-so-fabulous five will prevail. Here's why you should vote for them, according to their websites:
• Blaha: "If we do not cut the deficit, secure the border and implement meaningful tax reform after one term in office, Robert Blaha will voluntarily step down and help the people of Colorado find a candidate who can."
• Graham: "He gets things done! Married to Ginger and the proud father of three grown children; two fantastic grandkids; with 12 horses, a dog, three cats and 12 chickens."
• Glenn: "Today we're $18 trillion in debt with each child owing the federal government more than $1.5 million the moment he or she is born. If we don't change course now, generations will live like indentured servants to the government."
• Keyser: "I Want To Be Clear: President Obama's Deal Will Lead To A Nuclear Iran. Barack Obama Knows It, Michael Bennet Knows It, And The Denver Post Knows It."
• Frazier: "With low energy prices and abundant natural gas, our nation is on the cusp of a manufacturing boom. We can make things in American [sic] again and create great paying jobs to do it."
It's easy to make fun of campaign websites. They're all pretty much the same: full of ego, bombast, dubious claims and even more dubious statistics. Yet they're worth perusing, if only for their charmless fakery. Besides, as a Republican in name only who generally approves of Sen. Bennet, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Iran nuclear deal, I have three choices.
I can vote for the best candidate, I can vote for the worst (hoping to assure Bennet's re-election), or I can throw away my ballot.
Unlike his competitors, Glenn has plenty of experience in elected office. He's a decent, thoughtful person, whose far-right positions might lessen his effectiveness as a senator (think Ted Cruz, if Cruz were a nice guy). Graham and Blaha are curiously alike, both big-time college football jocks and highly successful businessmen without experience in elected office. Keyser served one term in the state House and quit to run for the U.S. Senate; Frazier was an Aurora councilmember seven years ago.
None of the five can match Bennet's credentials. The incumbent was brilliantly successful working for Phil Anschutz, serving as Denver Public Schools superintendent and as Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's chief of staff. He's been a particularly effective senator, working amiably and cooperatively with Democrats and Republicans alike. (Full disclosure: Bennet, Hickenlooper and I all went to Wesleyan University, a small New England liberal arts college, at different times.)
Who gets my primary vote? No one. I'm tossing the ballot, coming out of the closet and registering as unaffiliated. Let the real GOPsters choose their guy and color me gone.
The Republican Party? No mas! As Willie Nelson and Don Meredith used to sing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over."
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