Busy weekend for Colorado GOP candidates | VailDaily.com

Busy weekend for Colorado GOP candidates

Associated Press Writer
Vail, CO Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Rival Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for U.S. Senate geared up for a busy weekend of campaigning, including a Colorado GOP assembly that coincides with a visit from Sarah Palin in another city.

Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck hopes for a surge of support at the assembly Saturday while his better-funded Republican rival, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, bypasses the gathering to make primary ballots through petitions.

But the timing of Palin’s visit Saturday to Denver, about 50 miles from the GOP gathering in Loveland, drew criticism from Buck, who said she could steal some of the conservative spotlight.

Palin has not formally endorsed either candidate, but praised Norton in remarks to a group of abortion opponents in Washington last week, saying Norton is part of a “stampede of pink elephants” who could get things done.

“Frankly, I don’t want to be a pink elephant,” Buck said Monday on the “Cari and Rob” radio show on KRAI-AM.

It wasn’t known whether Norton would appear with Palin in Colorado.

A Norton spokeswoman, Cinamon Watson, said Buck’s remarks about Palin were puzzling. “It sounds like Ken Buck has sour grapes,” Watson said.

A third Republican, Tom Wiens, is also seeking the Republican nomination and is trying to petition onto primary ballots.

Buck has criticized Norton’s decision, but not Wiens’, to bypass the GOP assemblies. Both of Colorado’s political parties allow candidates to petition onto ballots instead of getting onto ballots at state assemblies.

Norton says she is bypassing the Republican assembly because she wants to reach out to more than just party insiders. Buck says it’s because Norton is afraid she wouldn’t make the assembly’s required 30 percent threshhold and isn’t really interested in outreach.

“That’s a great idea, but I have yet to see her at a Wal-Mart,” Buck told about a dozen people at a restaurant after the radio show. “She’s not meeting a whole lot more people than I am.”

Norton’s petitions are due May 27. Assuming she gets enough signatures, as expected, she will face Buck and possibly Wiens in an Aug. 10 primary. The winner faces one of two Democrats. The incumbent is Sen. Michael Bennet.

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