Newspaper article Roll Call

In Colorado, Dearth of Challengers to Face Udall

Newspaper article Roll Call

In Colorado, Dearth of Challengers to Face Udall

Article excerpt

Republicans insist Sen. Mark Udall is beatable in 2014. Colorado, after all, increasingly has been at the center of national politics for more than a decade. But the party has one big problem: It has no candidate.

Republicans on the ground insist that if they can find someone talented, they have the organizational and fundraising apparatus to support that person"s campaign. But when asked for names, they struggle.

For some observers it"s baffling that local GOP operatives are on an all-out talent search in such a top battleground state. And while tea party versus establishment skirmishes already are shaping up elsewhere on the Senate landscape, neither side has an obvious candidate in Colorado.

The candidate most hoped for by Republicans - and feared by Democrats - is sophomore Rep. Cory Gardner. He wins begrudging praise from Democrats for his political instincts, and many GOP operatives in Colorado hope he makes a Senate run. But at this stage, he doesn"t sound like a candidate.

"I am in no hurry to make a decision,' Gardner said when asked if he planned to run for Senate. "I have no timetable, I"m not in a hurry to decide.'

The sense of political operatives on the ground is that he will not run, especially given he is on the fast track to move into House leadership and has much to lose if he leaves his seat.

Months ago, Democrats were fairly open about their fear of Gardner. But as the conventional wisdom has evolved that he will not run, there is a marked swagger in their attitude about Udall"s re- election.

"It"s frustrating as hell,' a state GOP strategist said about the entire recruitment situation.

The other names on the Senate radar include: former Rep. Bob Beauprez, state Attorney General John Suthers and state Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

Some, but not all Democratic operatives, say they see the state trending into the safe column. President Barack Obama won the state in 2012 by a 5-point spread. And part of the bench problem for Republicans has been that the party has struggled to win major statewide offices over the past decade. …

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