Larimer County may hold key to GOP’s fate in November |

Larimer County may hold key to GOP’s fate in November

Lynn Bartels
The Denver Post
Senate candidate Ken Buck greeted supports gathered for a primary night party in Loveland Tuesday night. The Ken Buck primary night party is being held inside the Embassy Suites hotel Tuesday night, August 10, 2010, in Loveland, Colorado. Karl Gehring, The Denver Post

Two years after former Republican Congressman Bob Schaffer couldn’t carry his own hometown, Larimer County could be the key to GOP victories in November.

The northern Colorado county’s 9-12ers and Tea Partyers flexed their muscles in the primary election with dramatic results.

“I tell our volunteers all the time, when you talk about a battleground for our country, Larimer County is where it’s at,” said Larry Carillo, the county GOP chairman.

Larimer, Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson are considered Colorado’s swing counties.

But no other bellwether county in Colorado performed as Larimer did in the Aug. 10 primaries, handing unusually lopsided victories in the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races to the GOP winners – who had significant Tea Party and 9-12 support.

In the U.S. Senate primary, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck defeated former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton 64 percent to 36 percent in Larimer County. In the governor’s contest, Evergreen businessman Dan Maes beat former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis 62 percent to 38 percent.

“Those spreads really validated all the hard work that has been going on up here,” said Nancy Rumfelt of Loveland and the 9-12 Project Liberty Circle, a conservative grassroots group. “There’s very much a sense of fellowship and friendship within the groups. We work together. We talk.”

When early statewide results were released on primary night, Norton’s campaign manager, state Sen. Josh Penry of Grand Junction, thought there was a chance she might pull off an upset.

Conventional wisdom says a Republican has to win El Paso County to win a statewide election. Norton carried El Paso, plus other key counties such as Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson.

Larimer County ended their dream.

“When those (Larimer) votes came in, I knew it was going to be impossible to make up the spread,” Penry said.

Larimer County also was good to Democratic U.S. Sen.

Read more: Larimer County may hold key to GOP’s fate in November – The Denver Post

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