Pikes Peak region might finally have a U.S. senator – or maybe not

Here’s some shocking news: Of the three credible Republicans (Ken Buck, Owen Hill and Amy Stephens) that have announced their candidacy for Mark Udall’s U.S. Senate seat, every one is vehemently opposed to Obamacare.

Hill and Stephens are both sitting area legislators, so it’s perfectly possible that the Pikes Peak region could finally be represented in the U.S Senate.

Here are some excerpts from their forgivably partisan websites.

Amy Stephens

“Today our national debt stands at nearly 17 trillion, yet liberal politicians like Mark Udall want to keep growing government and spending more money. As Colorado House Majority Leader, Amy passed balanced budgets in 2011 and 2012 without raising taxes and without relying on games and gimmicks. These budgets reduced non-entitlement spending and eliminated more than 700 unfunded government worker positions. Her 2012 budget restored a property tax cut for many Colorado seniors living in their own homes, while increasing funding for education. Amy also fought against the “dirty dozen” taxes increased under the Ritter Administration. In the Senate, Amy will fight to stop President Obama’s job killing tax hikes, reform entitlement programs and cut runaway spending. She will oppose any effort to raise our nation’s debt ceiling without addressing our soaring deficits and crushing national debt.”

 Owen Hill

“I am running for the U.S. Senate because America needs a vibrant, growing economy, and Mark Udall has no idea how to achieve this. Only rapid, sustained economic growth will get Americans back to work, increase real incomes, and balance the federal budget. That’s why, in Washington, I will fight for growth.

I am a Republican, but I am a new kind of Republican. I support the Tenth Amendment, so I believe that the people of Colorado should have control over the issues that most affect them. I believe that we should hold a national referendum on Obamacare. And, I believe that the right way to lower healthcare costs is to find cures for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. My path champions the successful innovators of the future who advance the genuine conservative values of Reagan and Lincoln by helping everyone succeed, especially the poor and oppressed.”

Ken Buck

“First, I want to say thanks for the prayers, cards, emails and kind thoughts while Perry and I battled the lymphoma cancer found in my body earlier this year. After the initial scare, I am happy to report that I am finished with Chemo, have my strength back and my doctors report there is no detectable cancer in my body. God is good!

With that battle behind me and after prayerful consideration and the encouragement of my family, friends and supporters across Colorado, I have decided to run for the U.S Senate.

Since President Obama and Senator Mark Udall went to Washington in 2008, Senator Udall has been one of the most reliable rubber stamps for President Obama’s failed policies.

The fact is since 2008, America has been drowning in a sea of red ink, with a debt now totaling almost $17 trillion. And, according to a recent report, “it’s nearly certain that the (national) debt will more than double during the Obama presidency.”

The doubling of our national debt and the “train wreck” takeover of our health care system by the federal government that looms are just two of the destructive votes that Senator Udall rubber stamped for President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Colorado needs a U.S. Senator that will fight back in Washington, not capitulate to the big spenders.

We owe it to our kids and our grandkids to get our country back on track. We can start right here in Colorado by replacing Senator Udall in 2014.”

If Hill and Buck sound a little more stridently partisan than Stephens, it may be because both are targeting the same micro-population–the rabid Republicans who will eventually attend the state nominating convention (or state assembly, as it’s called). To be on the primary ballot a candidate must have at least 30 percent of the vote, so you can’t run too far to the right.

This process delights Democrats, because it disadvantages the kind of Republicans who might appeal to independents. The Colorado GOP political landscape is littered with the bones of moderates and traditional conservatives who were knocked out of the race by strident ideologues. That’s why former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton petitioned on to the primary ballot in the 2010 U.S. Senate election, and that’s why Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Monument) is choosing the same route in 2014.

Like Norton, Stephens is an experienced politician. She’s worked effectively across the aisle during her years in office. Ken Buck narrowly defeated Norton in the 2010 Republican primary, and was in turn narrowly defeated by Michael Bennet in the general election.

Despite Stephens’ years working for Focus on the Family, she’s far from being a shut-down-the-government Tea Partier. She should appeal to moderates and independents, and especially to suburban women. If GOP primary voters again choose a rigidly right-wing male as their standard bearer, Mark Udall will have an easier path to another six-year term.

The Republican right is already in full attack mode – but against Stephens, not Udall. Last month RedState noted that “Colorado State Representative Amy Stephens (‘R,’ Monument) recently made official what Conservatives in Colorado have been dreading for months: she is running for U.S. Senate in the Centennial state. Amy Stephens is best known in Colorado as the architect of ‘AmyCare’ (SB11-200), which set up the Obamacare-compliant health insurance exchange in Colorado; basically, bringing Obamacare to the Centennial State.”

Democrats are, as you might expect, rooting for Buck or Hill. ColoradoPols, a left-leaning site that’s less ideological than RedState, called Stephens the most electable of the three candidates, but noted hopefully that she wouldn’t survive the Republican primary.

To petition on, a candidate must gather 1,500 signatures of registered Republicans in all eight congressional districts. It’s a fairly low bar for a credible, well-financed candidate. Similarly, it’s not unreasonable to assume that both Buck and Hill will make the ballot at the state assembly. If the problems of Obamacare continue to plague Democrats 11 months hence, a Republican candidate might just knock off Udall.

And who knows? The Republican might be one of our own.


2 Responses to Pikes Peak region might finally have a U.S. senator – or maybe not

  1. Owen Hill is the only honest, ethical person running for U.S. Senate. He has a PHD in policy making and is a brilliant man. Do not be fooled by his age, he will have 2 more terms of legislative experience then Ken Buck. As for Amy Stevens, if you want a Senator who sells out to every lobbyist and does not represent us, the individual, then that is exactly what you will get.

    December 6, 2013 at 9:38 am

  2. Gee, John,

    If I was a Democrat and an elected Democrat was passing tax and spending bills while in office, would you call that compromise with the conservative opposition or a “DINO?” If that DINO was to introduce a constant stream of notably “moderately conservative” bills (as Stephens as done with so many moderately liberal bills) would you be pumping that Democrat? I seriously doubt it. You’d be calling for their ouster, instead.

    Such remarkably tunnel-visioned articles always missing the obvious hypocrisy are a marvel in and of themselves.

    Jeff Wright
    December 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm