EDITORIAL: Republican Party continues showing new ability to win

By: The Gazette editorial
March 18, 2014 Updated: March 18, 2014 at 10:51 am
photo - State Sen. Owen Hill
State Sen. Owen Hill 

State Sen. Owen Hill, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, told The Gazette on Monday he will bow out of the race to help ensure victory for U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner. He wants Gardner to unseat U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, a Boulder Democrat.

"My passion is to protect the future for my kids, and Cory has the best chance to defeat Mark Udall," Hill told The Gazette. "Udall and President Obama take money out of our communities to fund Washington bureaucracies and I know Cory (Gardner) will help put an end to it."

Hill's move comes after State Rep. Amy Stephens and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck stepped aside to make room for Gardner, who is widely considered a formidable threat to Udall. Hill's exodus leaves only Gardner and State Sen. Randy Baumgardner in the Republican race heading into the April 12 state assembly.

Though an effective and affable senator, considered safe a few months back, Udall made himself vulnerable by enthusiastically supporting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As Obamacare has taken hold, the law has become a public policy fiasco for the ages. It will continue hurting Colorado families and businesses. Gone is the support of ill-informed voters who thought Obama and congressional Democrats were giving them health care. That phenomenon of ignorance has been replaced by newfound skepticism of government that could benefit Republicans.

If Republicans are serious about unseating Udall, they will go into the state assembly as a house united. Baumgardner, a respected public servant with good future prospects, could help by following the lead of Buck, Stephens and Hill. He should consider stepping aside and putting his full support behind Gardner. The fact three good candidates have stepped aside attests to Gardner's promise and strength. His competitors have made great personal sacrifice, setting aside their own self-interests and ambitions, to invest in prospects. Hill, in his written statement, said he will endorse Gardner if the candidate wins the state assembly or "until my friend and colleague Randy Baumgardner decides what he will do."

"We must avoid a contentious primary election that only leaves the winner bruised and battered before heading into the all-important general election in November," Hill explained in a written statement. "This is a mistake repeated year after year in Colorado and one I won't allow to be repeated again."

Hill's wisdom reflects his promising future as an asset of the Republican Party. If Republicans believe their platform can and should benefit society, they cannot continue losing. They must become at least as politically savvy as their Democratic counterparts. Yes, Democrats have stuck our state and country with bad policies. But Democrats, unlike Republicans, are masterful politicians on average. They know how to win.

Colorado is no longer a Republican state by any stretch of reasoning. With Democrats controlling both chambers of the Colorado Legislature, the state's executive branch, both Senate seats and three of seven House districts, Republicans control almost nothing. They stand the possibility this year of losing House District 6, represented by former Secretary of State Mike Coffman. In Gardner's former district, the Fourth, candidate Buck faces a primary opponent so extreme he compares homosexuality to murder and advocated using the National Guard to confiscate medical marijuana cards.

For Republicans, the path to victory is a decision to win. It means avoiding needless primary battles and holy wars about perceptions of who's the most ideologically pure. To stop President Barack Obama's crusade to fundamentally change the greatest country on Earth, Republicans must control both chambers of Congress. That means they must settle on candidates today and free them to fight for victories in November. Buck, Stevens and Hill understand the mission. We urge others to follow their lead.

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