DENVER – Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported that Ron Paul is throwing his endorsement behind political newcomer and Air Force vet Owen Hill (R-Colo. Springs).
Hill is joined by Amy Stephens (R-Monument), who announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate over the weekend, and Weld County DA Ken Buck, who is seen as an early frontrunner by some observers.
Paul’s endorsement is “very important… as of today the most important endorsement in this race,” pollster and analyst Floyd Ciruli told The Observer.
“Owen Hill is an exceptional newcomer candidate” Ciruli said, and as Rand and Ron Paul’s brand expands nationally, the endorsement probably means they will garner support “beyond just libertarians.”
Of Ken Buck’s front-runner status, Ciruli believes “most Republicans are going to give everyone else a look. They will have to watch the race before they decide.”
Ciruli noted that many grassroots and established Republicans are concerned that Buck failed to clinch a November victory over Sen. Michael Bennet after his primary victory in 2010, despite a large grassroots base, significant fundraising support, and a professional campaign team.
“When you lose a race like that you pick up some baggage… many Republicans are still concerned he’s vulnerable,” Ciruli said.
That said, “Buck has a significant advantage having run before,” Ciruli added.
Stephens was endorsed by former Sen. Hank Brown, who was present at her Invesco Field campaign kick-off this past weekend.
“Stephens has one handicap”, said Ciruli, referencing the intense partisan gridlock in Washington that has contributed to the current political stalemate. “She facilitated one significant aspect of Obamacare – the exchanges.”
Ciruli believes that is a tough liability to overcome in Colorado’s caucus system, but her show of bipartisanship could be a significant asset in the general election.
“The [Republican] party would be extremely well served to nominate a woman,” said Ciruli.
But just like Jane Norton in 2010, “Stephens faces an uphill battle” within her own party.