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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

CO-05: Hefley Ponders Write-in Candidacy, Republicans in Disarray

Posted by James L.

Oh how I love to hear those words for a change: "Republicans in disarray." Well, it's the truth. Here's the story so far: way back in February, 20-year congressman Joel Hefley, of Colorado's 5th district, announced his retirement. Now, Colorado's fifth is a deeply Republican district (it voted for Bush by a 66-33 margin, I believe) with a heavy air force presence as well as being the home turf of James Dobson's theocratic Focus on the Family, but Democrats have fielded a nominee who's a good fit for the district: retired Lt. Col. Jay Fawcett, an air force vet with a Bronze Star from the Gulf War. Meanwhile, the Republicans had a very nasty six-way primary battle that resulted in the narrow victory of the Club For Growth-backed state senator Doug Lamborn. Fawcett spent his time picking up traction in the district, earning a netroots endorsement, as well as the backing of key Republicans with military backgrounds in the district.

Still, despite his best efforts, all that might not have been enough to pull off an upset in this deeply Republican district. Well, at least, until this story broke today:

Rep. Joel Hefley is seriously considering running as a writein candidate to retain his seat rather than risk handing it over to Republican nominee Doug Lamborn.

In meetings with national political consultants, Hefley and his supporters have come up with yard-sign designs and the key messages of a possible campaign, Republican Party activist Peggy Littleton said.

Hefley, who has represented the 5th Congressional District for 20 years, has been the subject of a three-week push by high-level Republicans to take this nearly unheard-of step, Littleton said Monday.


Shortly after announcing he would not seek an 11th term, Hefley endorsed Crank. Crank and Lamborn engaged in a bloody political battle that included third-party mailings accusing Crank of being a tax hiker and an advocate for the “radical homosexual lobby,” charges Lamborn either leveled or refused to renounce.

Lamborn, a state senator, won the primary by 892 votes and is set to face Democrat Jay Fawcett in a district that leans heavily Republican. Thirteen Republicans have publicly announced their support for Fawcett, and others have complained behind the scenes about Lamborn’s primary campaign.

Radio stations pulled two ads by an organization that backed Lamborn because their truth was questioned, and the Federal Election Commission is investigating a complaint Lamborn illegally collaborated with outside groups.

Lamborn maintains that he campaigned on his record during 12 years in the Legislature and that he simply highlighted unflattering parts of opponents’ records. He has said also that he had nothing to do with mailers from outside groups.

Hefley, who criticized negative campaigning at the May GOP congressional assembly, gained a reputation in his later years as a champion of ethics in politics. He led the House ethics committee when it chastised Majority Leader Tom DeLay — a member of his own party — and later lost that seat and was ostracized by DeLay and his allies.

Littleton said many wellknown elected officials will back Hefley if he runs. If he does not, she and others are likely to sit out the election or, in some cases, vote for Fawcett, she said.

“Joel is the essence of integrity. . . . He was able to overcome ‘The Hammer,’ Tom DeLay,” Littleton said.

As long as those "Republicans For Fawcett" don't convert to "Republicans For Hefley", Lamborn could very well stand the chance of hemorrhaging from two sides. Hefley's no fool--I'm sure he realizes how next-to-impossible a write-in campaign is, even given his broad name recognition in the district. No, I'm quite sure that Hefley is doing this as a deliberate attempt to sabotage Lamborn's chances. Say what you will about Hefley--he IS extremely conservative, after all--but he wouldn't let Tom DeLay and his unethical kleptocrats push him around. He doesn't want to see his former seat of power be abused by someone without ethics.

Hefley has until 5pm to make this official. Keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, please support Jay Fawcett and the netroots candidates today!

Posted at 12:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Colorado | Technorati

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Sounds like Hefley needs to stay off the Crank. These growing ideological divisions creating infighting within the Gop may be their undoing.

Fear & Loathing in Reno: In NV-02, State Senator & Club for Growth'er Sharron Angle is filing suit to overturn the results of the recent Gop Primary election and her 428 vote loss to Seretary of State Dean Heller, claiming Heller used his position to propagate voting irregularities in Washoe County (Reno). The brutal 3 way primary had already created an advantage for State Univ. Regent Jill Derby-D http://www.jillderby.com/ this latest angst may help to empower Derby to make further strides in this Gop leaning District. more on this from CQ Politics: http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/08/fight_over_gop_nod_in_nevada_2.html

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2006 01:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

In other good news involving Gop districts with write-in campaigns, CQ Politics has moved TX-22 (DeLay-R) from No Clear Favorite to Leans Democratic

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2006 01:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Looks like Hefley decided against running as a write-in. This was interesting, though:

Though he will not endorse Lamborn, Hefley said it would be "very difficult" as well to support Democrat Jay Fawcett because he wants Republicans to keep control of the House. But he added: "I don’t know what I'm going to do at this point about that."

Posted by: KCinDC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2006 04:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment