Republicans duke it out

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The Colorado Freedom

Republicans duke it out

by Linn and Ari Armstrong

This article originally appeared in the May 29, 2006, edition of Grand Junction Free Press.

Bob Beauprez is the establishment Republican candidate for governor. We are unimpressed by the Republican establishment.

Back when Beauprez led the state GOP, the establishment Republicans, including Beauprez and Governor Bill Owens, helped give us more gun control in the form of counterproductive and rights-violating national registration checks for private sales at gun shows. They supported other anti-self-defense measures as well.

The establishment Republicans -- this time excluding Beauprez but including Owens -- gave us the massive net tax hike known as Referendum C. Grand Junction residents can take comfort in knowing that they're funding things like Denver bureaucracy and multiculturalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Beauprez gets credit on this one for opposing the governor. If Beauprez hadn't bragged about bringing home federal dollars, we would be even more inclined to trust his fiscal conservatism.

Owens led the establishment Republicans in violating property rights and free association by imposing smoking bans on select private property. As a member of the U.S. Congress, Beauprez sat this one out. It is a sad state of affairs when Republicans have to go to Washington, D.C. to escape Republican crusades against individual rights.

At the Republican Convention, Beauprez trounced anti-establishment challenger Marc Holtzman 72 to 28 percent. Holtzman's votes were just shy to put him on the primary ballot, so he said he'd petition on.

But we're not impressed by anti-establishment Republicans, either. We like the fact that Holtzman has read Hayek and other free-market economists. He is also more solidly pro-self-defense and low-tax.

However, Holtzman has a number of problems. As The Denver Post and others reported, Holtzman's old campaign manager lied to a reporter about poll results. The manager resigned, but Holtzman didn't exactly issue a strong proclamation against lying to the public.

Holtzman undercuts his free-market sentiments with his me-too anti-immigration stand. And, like Beauprez and their Democratic challenger Bill Ritter, Holtzman parrots the standard anti-abortion line of the establishment right.

Perhaps Holtzman's biggest problem is simply the fact that he hasn't served in any other important public office. Beauprez, at least, is tested. While he didn't do anything especially impressive in Congress, neither did he embarrass his constituents, get embroiled in scandal, etc. Partly by the nature of their underdog status, anti-establishment candidates like Holtzman tend to sound a little nutty, and that makes voters nervous.

Your elder author's wife, Sharon, took notes at the convention. We were heartened to hear that both Republican candidates took a strong stand against the use of eminent domain to take property for economic interests. We fear that big-city Bill Ritter would be more likely to bend to local political interests.

The worst case scenario for the Republicans is that they lose Beauprez's seat to the Democrats, a nasty Republican primary lets Ritter step into the governor's mansion, and the Democrats keep their majorities in the state capitol. As much as we dislike much of Republican politics, a Democratic sweep of state government would be a disaster. Gridlock '06 may be the best possible election outcome.

We're impressed by two other Republicans running for state government. Mark Hillman is running for State Treasurer. Hillman stepped into that position on a temporary basis when Mike Coffman served a military tour in Iraq. Hillman, praised by the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, is a great guy with a steady personality and strong principles. We are confident that Hillman would oversee our tax dollars with fiscal responsibility.

Hillman had perhaps the best line at the convention. He said that he will work harder to get more from our tax dollars, not more of our tax dollars.

Coffman is running for Secretary of State. We are confident that he can bring the integrity and competence to the office to assure fair voting and recording practices.

We also believe that Coffman's opponent, Ken Gordon, would capably handle the technical aspects of the office. The problem is that Gordon would use the office to push his far-left agenda. He would also have a better chance of running for higher state office or federal office, where he could be truly dangerous.

In a May 15 e-mail, Gordon bragged about spending more of your money on environmentalist propaganda ("for research into how Colorado can help reduce our impact on climate change"). He bragged about further socializing health care and power production and violating property rights via the smoking ban. He bragged about supporting a measure to eviscerate the electoral college and thereby give more control of electing the President to the big population centers of New York and California.

Gordon is also an enemy of our right to bear arms.

The legislature has quit for the year. But during this election season we face the unpleasant task of minimizing the threat to our liberties in the future.

June 2 update: The Rocky Mountain News reports, "Holtzman fell 743 signatures short of the number required to gain a spot on the August primary ballot, according to Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis."

Linn Armstrong is a local political activist and firearms instructor with the Grand Valley Training Club. His son, Ari, edits from the Denver area.

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