One of the handful of Republicans looking to take on Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has earned the endorsement of Jane Norton, who was heavily favored to win the GOP Senate nomination in 2010.
On Wednesday, state Rep. Amy Stephens announced that Norton has endorsed her over the rest of the Republican field, which includes 2010 Senate nominee Ken Buck.
As a former lieutenant governor, Norton was the solid favorite to carry the Republican torch against then-appointed Sen. Michael Bennet. Despite outraising Buck by some $2 million, Norton was swept up in a tea party wave that saw establishment-backed candidates upended in primaries across the country.
After a series of gaffes, Buck went on to lose to Bennet in what had been a top pickup opportunity for Republicans in a wave election cycle. In a statement released by the Stephens campaign, Norton indicated that primary voters must not make the same mistake twice.
"Republicans have an enormous opportunity to defeat Mark Udall and replace him with a fiscally responsible leader in 2014," Norton said. "But in order to win, we need to run an effective campaign and nominate the right candidate who can bring middle class values and Colorado commonsense back to Washington."
Udall's approval rating took a hit in recent polling, but he continues to lead in head-to-head matchups against the pack of largely unknown Republicans hoping for another favorable midterm cycle. For now at least, Colorado remains on the outskirts of the competitive playing field in 2014.
The race is rated Safe Democratic by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.