Prominent Colorado grassroots activist Lesley Hollywood, the Northern Colorado Tea Party director, issued this statement regarding last night’s pair of victories for Ken Buck (Senate) and Dan Maes (Governor), who stunned politicos and Republican voters alike with their come-from-nowhere success:
Tea Party activists across Colorado are thrilled tonight as Tea Party supported candidates win primary races throughout the state. It is clear the voters and the candidates are responsive to the Tea Party message. Ken Buck won the Republican nomination for US Senate because his message of reviving a struggling economy through lowering taxes, reducing spending, and promoting individual liberties resonates with many voters. Dan Maes secured the nomination for Colorado Governor by supporting the same principles and values. The Tea Party message has motivated and energized the electorate across the state. This solidifies the results of a recent Rasmussen Survey in which Colorado lead the nation in Tea Party membership.
“We are ecstatic to see the advancement of our pro-liberty candidates into the general election. We feel confident these candidates will excel in November as they advocate for fiscal responsibility, limited government and a prosperous private sector, all of which are Tea Party principles and mainstream American values,” said Lesley Hollywood, director of the Northern Colorado Tea Party. “Many of our activists are voting for the first time in a primary election. And even those who have voted their entire lives, are now engaged in the process like never before. They’re encouraging others to vote, spreading the pro-liberty message, and putting their boots on the ground. We look forward to maintaining this energy through November and beyond.” [emphasis added]
Those Tea Party boots have already done quite a bit of walking and talking.
Late last August, Buck’s U.S. Senate bid appeared to be on death’s door–the Denver Post and others reported that lackluster fundraising and the impending entrance of a candidate with National Republican Senatorial Committee backing in former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton had all but pushed Buck from the race.
Pressure from local bloggers and county GOP officials forced a backlash so strong that it forced Colorado Republican Chair Dick Wadhams to dissuade the NRSC from any involvement or other endorsement that might give the appearance of playing favorites in the race. Buoyed by the negative reaction to D.C. involvement and supportive calls to stay in the race, an emboldened Buck held on as Norton entered the U.S. Senate primary in early fall 2009.
In the gubernatorial race Maes, running on a proverbial shoe-string budget and left for dead politically several times in the past 10 months, clung stubbornly to his message of the power of the grassroots, relying heavily on Tea Party support to overcome immense financial disadvantages. He rallied to win the top line at the Republican State Assembly and edged out his ethics-plagued rival, Scott McInnis, all while dealing with campaign gaffes of his own.