November 09, 2006

Beauprez's Comedy Of Unforced Errors

"It was always hard to tell if he really wanted it"

The Denver Post chronicles Beauprez's many campaign woes:
Often there is a moment in time that, viewed in retrospect, reveals where things went wrong.

In the case of Bob Beauprez's gubernatorial bid, however, the moments were legion.

Political professionals said a mix of wayward campaign strategies, poor timing and the political judgment of Beauprez himself all contributed to a resounding loss for a candidate who 18 months ago was handpicked by the Republican establishment to be the next governor of Colorado.

. . .

There was his tepid stance against Referendum C and D that alienated the business community and set up the label "Both Ways Bob" early on.

And his official campaign kickoff speech in January played sharply to the right, a position he refused to back off from even after his primary opponent, Marc Holtzman, exited the race in June.

He lost his seasoned campaign manager, then handed the reins to his relatively inexperienced communications director.

Then, despite the backlash over his Referendum C stance, he made a public splash by being the first person to sign a petition to roll back provisions of the measure that let the state keep extra tax revenue.

He blew a golden opportunity to pick a moderate running mate in August, and instead tapped Janet Rowland who once asked during a discussion of gay marriage: "Do we allow a man to marry a sheep?"

Two weeks later he contended that black women get abortions at the "appalling" rate of up to 70 percent.

And finally, political analysts threw up their hands in disbelief when he ended the fall campaign season with television ads that had him appearing next to a horse's rear and an FBI investigation into where his campaign obtained information for an attack ad.

. . .

"It was topsy-turvey," said GOP consultant Katy Atkinson, who also said that Beauprez didn't always appear as if he was ready to be governor.

"It was always hard to tell if he really wanted it," she said.

Over Labor Day weekend, which marks the traditional start of campaign season, Beauprez went to the mountains with his family while Ritter hit five counties.

Toward the end of the campaign, just as it appeared Beauprez had found a issue that might politically damage Ritter, it exploded in his face. After Beauprez ran television ads showing that Ritter's office had plea-bargained with illegal and legal immigrants, the FBI launched an investigation into whether some of the information in the ads was obtained illegally.
In order to move forward without the usual recriminations and claims of victimhood, the Colorado GOP should learn from the lessons provided by the debacle known as the Beauprez campaign, not simply acknowledge them and continue with business as usual. Business as usual has meant the loss of two congressional seats, a senate seat, the governorship, and both state houses in the legislature.


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