Colorado: Wiens Ends Senate Bid, Now Supporting Buck

Posted May 24, 2010 at 6:29pm

Former state Sen. Tom Wiens (R) is ending his Senate campaign and endorsing county prosecutor Ken Buck (R).

“Ken has worked tirelessly and has gained the support of grass-roots conservatives all across the state,” Wiens said Monday. “We need people like Ken Buck representing us in Washington who will restore respect for the American people, the Constitution and the principles that have made our country the greatest nation in history.”

Buck won 77 percent of the delegate vote at Saturday’s Republican convention to easily secure the top spot on the GOP primary ballot.

A favorite of tea party activists, Buck was assured of a dominant showing after former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton decided to skip the convention and instead collect signatures to get on the August primary ballot.

In abandoning his candidacy, Wiens said, “I don’t want to take the chance of Ken Buck and myself splitting up the conservative vote in a three-way Republican primary.”

Wiens put more than $640,000 of personal funds into his effort, but at the party’s first-round precinct caucuses in March, Wiens finished a distant third.

The winner of the GOP nomination will vie for the seat now held by Sen. Michael Bennet.

Bennet is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, even though former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff was the favorite of delegates at Saturday’s party convention by a vote of 60 percent to 40 percent.

Under Colorado law, both candidates qualified for the primary ballot because they received more than 30 percent.

Gardner Advances to Top Tier of ‘Young Guns’

The National Republican Congressional Committee is promoting state Rep. Cory Gardner to the highest level of its “Young Guns” candidate recruitment and training program, a sign of the confidence party officials have in his bid to unseat Rep. Betsy Markey (D).

“Cory Gardner has proven that he is ready to put this seat back in the Republican column,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said in a written statement.

The NRCC is making the announcement on the heels of Gardner effectively winning the Republican nomination Saturday, when he dominated the delegate vote at a 4th district assembly.

Markey, who is one of the best fundraisers among first-term House Democrats, said Saturday at the state Democratic assembly, “If my opponents want to fight me on my record, I say bring it on.”