The two main Republican candidates hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Jared Polis delivered the same message at Monday’s Broomfield County Assembly: This year, they said, they can win.
“We don’t have to lose this time,” said Boulder businessman Eric Weissmann, who is locked in a primary with state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, for the chance to take on the two-term Democrat.
Weissmann told the crowd of more than 100 GOPers that the old 2nd District seat — which Republicans haven’t held since the early 1970s — bears little resemblance to the one Polis will have to defend in November.
Lundberg, whose campaign boasted an outsized presence at the event, echoed Weissmann’s comments about the newly redrawn district.
“We think of Polis as the incumbent, but he hasn’t represented a good deal of the new district,” Lundberg said. “Up in Larimer County, I’ve been the senator for four years. That’s all of the county except Ft. Collins, so I can claim some incumbency as well.”
In addition to gaining Larimer County and parts of Jefferson County, the 2nd CD lost some Adams County suburbs and portions of “ski country” along the I-70 corridor.
Democrats have seen their advantage among active registered voters in the district shrink to a margin of just two points, with 34 percent of voters registered as Democrats, 32 percent as Republicans, and 33 percent unaffiliated.
Weissmann told The Colorado Statesman that redistricting is only “part of the story.”
The other part of the story, Weissmann said, is about the accusations of insider trading made against Polis in a recently released book by Peter Schweizer.
“Between the vulnerability of Polis on his ethics and the redistricting, I think there is a lot of enthusiasm,” Weissmann said. “I’m not sure the facts of the redistricting are widely known, but those who understand it are excited about it.”
Lundberg said he has been “very pleased with the quality and excitement of the people who are involved with the Republican Party in Broomfield.”
He was most impressed by the Republican representatives in the Broomfield area. “I was driving away thinking, ‘Man, they’ve got Shawn Mitchell and Don Beezley as their members down in the Legislature,’” Lundberg said. “Those are some of the funniest and most articulate people [Republicans] have in the Capitol.”
The crowd at the assembly also heard campaign pitches from candidates for the House District 33, Senate District 23, and CU Regent At-Large races.
In his campaign speech, Rep. Glenn Vaad, R-Mead, who currently represents House District 48 and is seeking the Republican nomination in Senate District 23, spoke about his personal background and thanked the crowd for participating in the process.
“It’s so important what you do here, and the revitalization of the Broomfield Republican Party is a wonderful thing to see,” Vaad said.
Vaad’s primary opponent, Ft. Collins resident and small business owner Vicki Marble, spent the majority of her speech highlighting the challenges small businesses face in Colorado.
“Before we even open our door, before we make one dime off of our sales or our products, we have a debt sheet — and it’s all to the government,” Marble said.
Senate District 23 is made up mostly of Weld County, but the majority of its population is located in southern Broomfield. RTD chairman Lee Kemp is the Democratic candidate in the race.
David Pigott, who is running for HD 33 uncontested, outlined the philosophy behind his policy views, which he said were focused on the belief that “people are inherently good.”
“If you don’t believe that,” Pigott said, “Well, then peoples’ lives have to be managed. People have to be told what to do and what not to do. Those are the other guys, that’s not us.”
House District 33 is centered around Broomfield, but also includes parts of Erie, Superior, and unincorporated Weld County. Former Democratic state Rep. Dianne Primavera will challenge Pigott in the race.
Matt Arnold and Brian Davidson, who are vying for the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Stephen Ludwig, D-Lone Tree, in the CU Regent At-Large race, also spoke to the crowd.
Both candidates denounced tuition increases and celebrated the recent Colorado Supreme Court decision that allows students on college campuses to carry concealed weapons.
Arnold — who is best known for Clear the Bench Colorado, his conservative website on judicial accountability — said the institutions of public and higher education, along with the media and judicial system, have been “relentlessly advancing a left wing agenda.”
He railed against former CU professor Ward Churchill, and said the University system is expanding degree programs that “produce people who are un-American.”
Davidson ran for the CU Regent At-Large seat in 2006 and lost by less than one percent of the vote. He categorized higher education as an economic issue, and not a social one.
The candidate emphasized his background as a physician, telling the crowd, “I am not a politician, nor do I want to be. I am back in this race for you, and for our children.”
Rep. Don Beezley, R-Broomfield — who decided not to run for reelection in HD 33 this year — told the crowd not to underestimate the “power and value” of the process they are participating in.
“When we go to the assembly and decide what candidate we’re going to pick, we really need to think about that path,” Beezley said.
State Sen. Shawn Mitchell, the popular SD 23 incumbent who is term-limited, also spoke to the crowd about the Republican presidential primaries, or as he described it, the “winter of our discontent.”
Mitchell said he supports Mitt Romney in the primary, but he focused his attention on reminding the crowd that they would soon be fighting against President Obama’s record.
“Not only does [Obama] have a policy record, he has his own foot-in-mouth problems,” Mitchell said. “Right now, we’re focused on turning our fire in on each other, but soon we will have a nominee.”
Broomfield County Republican Chair Erich Feigel said less than half of the delegates who were ratified at the assembly pledged for a candidate. He said there were very few pledges for Newt Gingrich, but that the numbers for Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum were comparable.
Out of the 120 Bromfield County delegates and alternates elected on caucus night, 92 were in attendance on Monday. Alternates were promoted to fill the 38 empty slots.
Feigel said the turnout was “excellent” compared to years past, and that the assembly ran “like clockwork.”
All but seven of the resolutions that were voted on by the delegates passed assembly.
The following resolutions were rejected: Resolution 3, which focused on stabilizing population through immigration reform and taxes; Resolution 5, which mandated electronic ID cards and would seek to deport those who could not meet the requirement; Resolution 8, which would repeal the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, Resolution 16, which called for the repeal of healthcare reform except for the pre-existing conditions prevision; Resolution 19, which resolved that no personhood amendments would be supported; Resolution 20, which states that the Broomfield Republican Party would take no political position on abortion rights; and Resolution 21, which resolved that the Broomfield GOP should be a strictly pro-life party.
Broomfield resident Dieter Schneider, who sang the Star-Spangled Banner to open the assembly, said he has now been to four Broomfield county assemblies. He attends to “get involved in the system.”
“Besides what we consider the obvious, the biggest enemy we have in this country is apathy,” Schneider said. “So we want to do our part to overcome that.”