FEEDBACK: ‘Primaries make us stronger, not weaker’

Author: Colorado Politics - January 18, 2018 - Updated: January 18, 2018


Editorial got it wrong on guv’s race

It was with great disappointment that we read an editorial in Colorado Politics’ news affiliate, the Colorado Springs Gazette, calling for a preemptive conclusion to our democratic primary process in favor of prematurely anointing one candidate (“EDITORIAL: Republicans should clear the field for Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton,” Jan. 14.) Such strident favoritism for a candidate in the Republican primary is unbecoming of a paper that is quickly becoming Colorado’s paper of record, particularly among conservatives.

We believe that our party is at its strongest when the democratic process is allowed to play-out, allowing battle-tested candidates to emerge from the primaries. Had the Republican Party done this in 2016, Hillary Clinton would now be president. Primaries make us stronger, not weaker.

While repeating Mr. Stapleton’s stump speech verbatim as their reasoning to support his candidacy, the editorial board of the Gazette also correctly notes that Republicans face an uphill battle in 2018. The political landscape is tilting against Republicans, and our likely Democrat opponent has virtually unlimited personal wealth to throw behind his candidacy.

This is why now, more than ever, Republicans need a strong candidate and a compelling narrative which will reach out to our grassroots members and beyond our party to independents who will be critical to success this November

Primaries give us a chance to choose the narrative that we want to advance as a party. The Gazette points to Mr. Stapleton as the strongest candidate but overlooks some rich pieces of his personal history that have been liabilities in prior, smaller races. The Democrats are sure to make this part of the narrative this year. Lest the Gazette’s editorial become a self-fulfilling prophecy, we’ll refrain from saying more; our intent in writing isn’t to teardown our fellow Republicans. However, it is naïve to expect that our likely Democrat opponent, one of the founding members and chief financiers of the Colorado Democracy Alliance, responsible for smearing dozens of Republicans out of office, will be so kind

This is why, in the interest of full disclosure, we are supporting and will continue to support Doug Robinson for the nomination. For the first time in recent history, we could nominate a candidate without a single potential liability or skeleton in his closet.

While we support Mr. Robinson, we write today on behalf of all Republican gubernatorial candidates.

The damaging primaries of recent history, particularly 2010, were born out of grassroots backlash to attempts by perceived party elites to anoint candidates in advance of a fairly conducted primary process — whether that be by the national party, the state party, the donor class or even the media. By putting their finger on the scale for Mr. Stapleton so early, the Gazette’s editorial board is helping recreate the type of past environment that they lament in their piece.

Better to call for a fair and open process that avoids personal attacks and instead focuses on issues — which, to date, has been precisely how this primary has been conducted.

Judy & Charlie McNeil

Debbie & Bruce Payne


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Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.