With Representative Mike Coffman taking himself out of contention for a U.S. Senate run, the GOP bench has indeed looked anemic in supplying an alternative (and we mean in terms of quantity, not quality).
A recent blog post from the beltway publication Roll Call suggests the following as alternatives:
- District Attorney George Brauchler, who is currently prosecuting the high-profile trial of the gunman who killed 12 and injured dozens of others in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in 2012
- State Sen. Owen Hill, a Republican who dropped out of the Senate race in 2014 when Gardner got in
- Businessman Robert Blaha, who lost a primary to GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn in Colorado’s 5th District in 2012
All of the above are fine suggestions, but we’d like to add at least two more for the conversation. But before we do that, let’s acknowledge that, barring some crazily unforeseen circumstance like a Bill Owens run, the GOP candidate will start off with poor statewide name recognition. This looks to be true of whomever the GOP nominates.
With that in mind, we suggest two recent candidates who ran credible, smart, but doomed-to-failure races: Dr. Mike Fallon and George Leing. Both of these candidates did a service to the Republican party by attempting to boost GOP turnout in safe Democrat congressional districts, a thankless job to be sure.
Fallon ran against Rep. Diana DeGette in CD1 in 2010. According to a 2014 article by Jeremy Meyer of the Denver Post, Fallon knocked on “thousands of doors” in the Dem-dominated district, and put up decent fundraising numbers in the face of a formidable DeGette machine that’s been established for years.
Since losing the 2010 race, Fallon has served as a fiscal watchdog as a board member to the state’s health exchange. Dare we say his medical credentials could position him to take up the banner recently abandoned by another U.S. Senator elected with no prior political experience, that of Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn?
Our second suggestion would be George Leing.
Leing ran the sacrificial mission of being the Republican to run against Rep. Jared Polis in Colorado’s Second Congressional District in 2014. He turned heads when – in true underdog fashion – he snagged an editorial endorsement from the Coloradoan.
Leing brings diversity to the Republican ticket as the son of Chinese immigrants. In his experience as an energy attorney, he offers a balanced view to energy issues that might not necessarily feed red meat to the right, but would most likely have broader support among Democrat and unaffiliated voters in a general election. Remember Cory Gardner’s windmill ads?
Of the three candidates mentioned in Roll Call article, only Brauchler starts off with moderate name recognition, and is widely thought to eye the Governorship, not a legislative position, even one as prestigious as Senator. As long as Owen Hill and Robert Blaha are in the conversation, Fallon and Leing should be as well.