Beauprez still has that fire in the belly

By Jody H. Strogoff
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Bob Beauprez, the former congressman from CD 7 who lost a hotly contested race for governor in 2006, can’t seem to extinguish the proverbial fire in the belly. It is an affliction most usually associated with high octane candidates, and Beauprez may be one of them.

The Republican has been talking to friends lately about next year’s U.S. Senate race, fueling speculation that there could be another candidate in the race to defeat recently appointed Democrat Michael Bennet.

Beauprez acknowledged as much this week.

“I can’t put it out,” he said about his burning desire to serve again.

Beauprez told The Statesman in February that he’d probably have to decide by this summer if he were to seriously consider getting into the U.S. Senate race.

Bob Beauprez

“I changed my mind about the date,” he admitted a few days ago.

“I thought the (political) environment was very murky and unclear at the time.”

But polling numbers are changing on the Democratic side, Beauprez suggested. “Obama’s taking a hit” and the spill over effect could make newcomer Bennet more vulnerable.

“There’s a lack of a clear Republican consensus candidate.”

Does he really consider Bennet to be vulnerable?

“You mean the silent, invisible one?” Beauprez quipped.

The answer to that question is yes, he opined. Even more so than before.

Here’s what he told The Statesman almost six months ago about whether he considered Bennet to be vulnerable in 2010.

“Well, obviously, I’d like to think so. Everything else about him (Bennet) you’d say, ‘All right, he fits into the Democrat Party mold really well.’ And you add to that the fact that he’s connected. And he gets it. He’ll be a quick study.

But can he fit into a western state like Colorado? I mean, Hillary Clinton can move to New York and put on a Yankees cap. And maybe she can pull it off. That’s New York.

That gets real tough in the West. And I still think, even though we do have a lot of immigration into Colorado, a lot of folks came here with the intention of being like Colorado. They adopted Colorado. They didn’t necessarily bring Connecticut here so it became more like Connecticut.

I think it’ll be a tough sell for Michael. George W. Bush was more Texas maybe than most people could take. He obviously didn’t spend his entire life in Texas, but he adapted. And he sounded like west Texas. He looked like west Texas.

Michael hasn’t shed the East Coast thing. And he’s not going to be completely comfortable at the Cow Palace in Lamar.”

Plus, Beauprez said, while he considers current Republican candidates Ryan Frazier and Ken Buck to be “good guys and incredible representatives for our party,” he nevertheless dissed them as U.S. Senate material. “None have captivated folks at the state or national level,” he stated.

Beauprez acknowleges that his 2006 campaign for governor was marred by a series of mishaps and miscalculations.

He would do things differently if he were to run another statewide campaign, he said in February.

“This isn’t meant to blame any of the people that were working for me, but I think I’ve got to do a little bit of what Pat Bowlen just did. You’ve got to get some new folks in and surround yourself with a different team.

Hopefully, we can start on the offensive and talk about what we’re for instead of just about what we’re against. Talk about a way to get America out of the economic mess. I don’t think you can spend yourself wealthy. I’m just mystified… If part of what got Republicans in trouble was deficit spending, if we deficit spend times two or three or 10, somehow that’s going to be better? That’s exactly the path we’re going now.

I think if I were to do it again, I would try very, very hard to talk about issues with people. Frankly, I was told in my last campaign that policy doesn’t mean anything to anybody, and we don’t want to focus on that. We just need to get you out there face to face with Bill Ritter, and people will see the dramatic difference. It didn’t work. So I would very much like to take an agenda, a message to folks that this is going to make a difference in their lives — and why.

I don’t think that we have become a nation that believes in less personal individual freedom.

And whether that means I don’t get to choose where my kid goes to school, somebody else decides that for me. Whether that means I don’t get to control where I work and the conditions I work under, somebody else is regulating and dictating that. Whether that means that some son of a gun across the pond somewhere that I never heard of has blown up a bus somewhere, and that took away some of my personal freedom to travel and do as I want to.

Whether that means some politician in Washington, D.C., decided he’s got a bunch of programs that he thinks ought to be funded, and so he’s raised my taxes and taken my discretionary income out of my pocket.

Those are all freedoms. And we seem to be — it’s human nature — willing to see somebody else’s freedoms evaporate. Until our toes get stepped on, we don’t notice it so much. I think people are understanding that their toes are starting to get stepped on. And when you’re doing it in trillion-dollar chunks, the toes are going to get bruised.”

Beauprez currently splits his time between his home in Lafayette and his 1,300 acre buffalo ranch in Jackson County.

Over the last year he has been promoting his book, A Return to Values, a 192-page, semibiographical effort to guide the Republican Party back to power and influence after its recent losses.

“My book is pretty good evidence," Beauprez said this week, of his continued interest in national issues.

I’m intrigued,” he said about the possibility of running for the Senate seat in 2010.

— Jody Hope Strogoff