Jack Graham resurfaces in Colorado politics universe

Author: John Tomasic - February 23, 2017 - Updated: February 23, 2017

Republican U.S. Senate candidates Jack Graham, Ryan Frazier and Darryl Glenn observe the proceedings at a GOP forum on Feb. 24 in Greenwood Village. Although Graham and Glenn have made the June 28 primary ballot, Frazier was one of three candidates who learned the last week of April that he hadn't turned in sufficient signatures to qualify. He tweeted on April 28 that he would appeal the decision in court. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
Republican U.S. Senate candidates Jack Graham, Ryan Frazier and Darryl Glenn at a GOP forum on Feb. 24, 2016, in Greenwood Village. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Jack Graham joined the board of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable.

“Our state is facing a number of serious issues,” said Graham in a statement accompanying the news. “Finding common sense solutions that address health care, education and transportation is essential to the well-being of the citizens of Colorado and the protection of jobs and our economy.”

The Common Sense Roundtable is a pro-business well-funded lobby shop. Last year it strongly opposed raising the minimum wage in the state. Critics dismiss the group as a mouthpiece for powerful libertarian or anti-labor free enterprise interests.

Graham was a member of the board of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He is perhaps best known, however, for serving as Colorado State University’s athletic director. He was also a Miami Dolphin and a multi-millionaire insurance man.

Last year, Graham jumped into state politics, petitioning his way onto a crowded Republican primary ballot for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet. Graham seeded his candidacy with a $1 million of his own money and hired Dick Wadhams, former Colorado Republican Party chairman, to steer his campaign. As they say on the gridiron, it was a short run.

Graham was a Democrat until 2014 and he was mocked by his hardcore conservative rivals in the primary race as an ideological lightweight and wannabe. In the year of Donald Trump, Graham never stood a chance.

“I went to work for Jack because I thought he was a strong candidate who fit the Colorado model — like Hank Brown, Bill Owens, Cory Gardner,” said Wadhams. “There’s a thread that runs through all of them — they were all conservatives but conservatives who could appeal to everyone in the state.”

John Tomasic

John Tomasic

John Tomasic is a senior political reporter for The Colorado Statesman covering the Colorado Legislature.

One comment

  • Pete Bonner

    February 26, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I liked Jack, however it was the Democratic history that killed the vote for me. This is someone I want to like, however, I can’t take any chances of a trojan horse.
    Voting Democrat up till 2014, oh…. my. That’s scary!

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