The Denver Post conducted the second Republican gubernatorial debate of the 2014 campaign this week. Absent were alpha dogs Tom Tancredo and Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Two new candidates have joined the field since last year, businessman Jason Clark, and Steve House, Adams County Republican chair. At the December debate at a local television station, not a single candidate was willing to fully embrace the theory of evolution through natural selection. Nonetheless, these B team candidates proved that their positions have been evolving during the interim. Gessler and Tancredo, both of whom have proven prone to near fatal bouts of foot in mouth disease, plan to duck any further debates. For the moment, the fact that each has raised more money than their four competitors combined makes this appear a shrewd strategy.
However, should either frontrunner trip over his tongue, at least one member of the remaining pack seems likely to become a frontrunner. Mike Kopp, Greg Brophy, Clark and House all were inclined to claim that money won’t be all that important in a primary, that when the dazzling light from their leadership skills escapes the shadows in which they are currently obscured, grassroots Republicans will flock to their campaigns. Each aspirant assured the audience that he could easily run the state of Colorado more competently than the incumbent without raising an additional dime in taxes. Kopp touted his “blueprint for a leaner government” — available for inspection on his website. His competitors promised to resolve any budget issues by uncovering that reliable Republican target of “waste, fraud and abuse” and turning these found dollars to better purposes.