Notes From the Senate Race

A couple of notes on the race for the Republican nomination.  First of all, despite the headline – and the weight of the party’s senior ex-officeholders – former Lt. Gov. Norton did win the straw poll, but did not “clobber” her opponents.  Mrs. Norton will no doubt point out that she hadn’t had much time to organize for the straw poll, and yet still came out first.  Her opponents will note that this should have been, in many ways, her natural constituency, the old-line party activists, and that she got barely 1/3 of the vote.  So while her assumed fundraising prowess still makes her the odds-on favorite, it appears that this race has some room yet to run, and that she’ll have to earn it.

Evidence that she knows that came Thursday night at a meeting of the R Block Party, a group of mostly Arapahoe County- and Centennial-based activists.  While there was some grumbling that she didn’t stick around for questions, the mere fact that she showed up indicates that she understands she’ll have to court the new activists that last year’s elections generated, and can’t simply rely on the old guard to dominate the caucuses they way they have in the past.  (For the record, the only candidate for Senate or Governor who didn’t show up or send a representative was…Scott McInnis.)

For the moment, the favorite of the new activists still seems to be Ryan Frazier, who performed well at Wednesday’s Liberty on the Rocks South Metro, and seemed to have a lot of fans at the R Block Party as well.  Still, Norton’s bearing and presence seemed more senatorial; whether that bears up under tough questioning remains to be seen.

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