During a 10 PM newscast of 9 NEWS in Denver this month, it was reported that Republican candidate for Colorado governor Bob Beauprez said, "we've got almost half of the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill" and "I submit to you that there is a political strategy to get slightly over half and have a permanent ruling political majority by keeping over half of the population dependent on the largesse of government that somebody else is paying for."
Those comments were made before the Denver Rotary Club in April 2010. Those comments appear at the 5:30 mark of the video.
Why does this sound familiar?
If you recall in 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was caught on tape (Part 1, Part 2) during a fundraiser dinner earlier in the year saying this:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
On 6 November 2012 this happened:
Not only did President Obama win with a convincing result in the electoral college with 332 electoral votes, but Obama won 51% of the popular vote.
Romney's popular vote share: 47 PERCENT.
Mother Jones, who broke the story of Romney's 47% comments, went even further by pointing out that Romney won 47% of the vote in the 12 swing states and in the other states Romney won 47.49% of the vote.
Now it appears that "47%" has resurfaced in 2014. This time it is in the Colorado gubernatorial election.
For the Beauprez campaign this couldn't come at a worse time. It has overshadowed his pick for Lieutenant Governor, Douglas County Commissioner Jill Repella. She spent three years on the Douglas County School Board prior to being elected county commissioner in 2008 and again in 2012.
Repella worked in commercial architecture, aerospace, and construction prior to entering politics. She is a fifth generation Coloradan who is a single mother with three children. She describes herself as a pro-life Catholic and is a graduate of Denver University and Colorado State University.
Nominating Repella is believed to combat the story that the Republicans are not in touch with women's issues and also to balance the ticket with someone based in the Denver area as the belief in Colorado is that a non-Denver Area candidate cannot win a statewide election. Douglas County is located south of Denver but is part of the metropolitan area while Beauprez is based in Loveland, 46 miles north of Denver in Larimer County. In the last three biannual elections, Larimer County has gone for the Democratic candidate while Douglas County has gone for the Republican candidate with the exception of the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial election when the county went for Tom Tancredo as a candidate for the American Constitution Party (2008 Presidential, 2008 Senate, 2010 Governor, 2010 Senate, 2012 Presidential).
Beauprez and Repella went on a unity tour of the state to promote the ticket and unite Republicans in defeating Governor Hickenlooper in November. The revelation of these comments does not exactly inspire unity.
Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio released this statement:
"It's shocking that a candidate for Governor would basically accuse half of the population of being freeloaders. Not only is Beauprez out of touch, but his elitist remarks show that he has no respect for Colorado's seniors, our veterans or the hard working families that are struggling to get by. After Coloradans have worked together to recover from fires and floods, the last thing we need is the divisive type of rhetoric that Bob Beauprez has spent his career peddling."
The 47% comment was damaging for the Romney campaign and the similar comments made by Beauprez will certainly not only harm his gubernatorial aspirations but will impact the other Republican candidate running for a major statewide office in 2014. In my post about the Colorado Republican Gubernatorial Primary, both Gardner and Beauprez have serious issues that will drag either candidate down.
Gardner has a well documented history of pushing for personhood and redefining rape. Then there is Amendment 67 which is another attempt to amend the Colorado Constitution to redefine personhood. It will appear on the ballot this coming November. Attempts at personhood has appeared on the ballot in Colorado in 2008 and 2010 and both times were rejected by over 70% of the voters. Even though the Udall-Gardner race is close according to Real Clear Politics, an NBC News/Marist Poll conducted in July among registered voters showed Senator Udall with a 7 point lead. Contributing to Udall's overall lead is his 50-38 advantage with women voters and advertisements like these:
Meanwhile the gubernatorial election is showing a different animal. While the polls per Real Clear Politics are showing a tightening election, it does not tell the entire story. Again the same NBC News/Marist Poll conducted the same time period as the Udall-Gardner poll shows Governor Hickenlooper up by 6 points. Yet, I have not seen an ads for either Governor Hickenlooper or Bob Beauprez appear on television at this time. Beauprez ran for governor in 2006 and lost by 17 points. While the conditions for that election are totally different than the conditions leading up to this November's election, it seems like Beauprez might be headed towards another electoral defeat.
And now there are these comments.
I will repeat it: the rightward direction of the Republican Party may play well in Texas, but in Colorado there are electoral consequences for going in that direction.
As seen in 2010, it was revealed that then-US Senate candidate Ken Buck told a rape victim that she had buyer's remorse back when he was the Weld County District Attorney in 2005, compared to being gay to alcoholism in a debate on Meet The Press (which prompted this response by a psychologist in the Denver Area), and stated his position of no abortions even in the case of rape and incest.
And then there was Tom Tancredo's third party run for governor.
The result? Michael Bennett was elected to his own term as US Senator and John Hickenlooper was elected governor of Colorado. It was one of the few bright spots for Democrats on Election Night 2010.
Election Day 2014 is now 100 days from today and I don't think Beauprez can recover from the revelation of these statements. There are still a lot story left to write about this election, but I cannot see Governor Hickenlooper not being sworn in for a second term in January 2015. Demonizing 47% of the electorate did not work well for Mitt Romney in 2012 and it will not work for Bob Beauprez.
It should also be noted that Bob Beauprez has the endorsement from Mr. 47%, Mitt Romney.
Colorado Republicans think that Colorado Democrats fear Bob Beauprez…
I think the Colorado Republicans fear that Beauprez will end up costing them another high profile statewide election.