Following the speech, Rove joined a crowd of under-40s in a reception, and was asked about the outlook in Colorado’s federal races.
Rove told Battle ‘10 that moving the Colorado U.S. Senate seat from “toss-up” to “Lean GOP” is “driven by the data” of a two-week rolling average. Should the race tighten back to within +/-3%, it will return to “toss-up” status.
Rove turned to Colorado’s Congressional battles, featuring Republicans Cory Gardner in CO-4, Scott Tipton in CO-3, and Ryan Frazier in CO-7. Rove held a fundraiser in Aspen, Colorado, for the three candidates last week. “I’m feeling good about Cory. In fact, you’re starting to see the Democrats start to dial back some of their buys in the Markey district,” said Rove to Battle ‘10.
“Tipton has a really good shot at beating him [Rep. John Salazar],” added Rove. “But,” as he sounded a bit of caution, “this race is going to be fought right until the end, because they won’t pull back from Salazar.” He noted it is a cheap district to buy airtime.
Rove also highlighted the race between Frazier and Rep. Ed Perlmutter. “The interesting one is going to be Frazier,” said Rove. “He represents the quintessential Colorado swing district. These others [Gardner, Tipton] are Republican districts that fell into Democrat hands. This is a district that is fully capable of being won by either party,” he argued.
Rove noted Frazier’s appeal but wondered aloud if other factors will be in place to make his run successful. “He is aggressive and he is young, and he has some good advertising, but the questions are will he have enough resources, and how good is the ground game,” Rove added.
The challenge for a candidate like Frazier in a swing district is earning the support of ticket-splitting voters. “He is going to have to win a bunch of people who are going to be voting for Hickenlooper and voting for the local Democrat for the legislature,” Rove told Battle ‘10, but he expressed confidence in Frazier saying, “I think he is capable of doing it.”
Rove praised the caliber of all three GOP House challengers. “All of them are pretty damn good,” Rove said with a chuckle.
Rove’s speech was limited by contract to outside press (just the first few minutes). You can view the remainder of the speech here.