In the 2010 election cycle, there were some high-profile examples of the Republican Party nominating candidates who were not preferred by the party establishment who then went on to lose what had been considered very winnable Senate races. There was Sharron Angle in Nevada (who beat Sue Lowden) and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware (who beat Rep. Mike Castle). There was also Ken Buck in Colorado, who beat Jane Norton.

Ken Buck wasn’t taking on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and he never felt the need to run a commercial declaring that he is not a witch, so his contest received less attention than the others. Yet, he was a real piece of work. When serving as Weld County District Attorney, he was caught on tape essentially threatening a rape victim that if she pressed charges he’d expose her motives. This was in spite of the man admitting that she had said ‘no’ more than once and confessing that he knew he had done something wrong.

Here is how Steve Benen described Buck at the time:

In a typical year, someone like [Colorado Senate candidate Ken] Buck would be an almost cartoonish right-wing nut, and the subject of national ridicule. After all, the far-right candidate supports repealing the 17th Amendment, eliminating the Department of Education, scrapping the federal student loan program, banning certain forms of birth control and all abortion rights, even in cases of rape or incest. He’s said Americans he doesn’t like are a bigger threat than terrorists, and is on record talking about privatizing Social Security, the V.A., and the Centers for Disease Control.

And now Buck is insisting sexual orientation is a choice and gays are like alcoholics.

I mention this because Ken Buck is running for Senate again, this time against Mark Udall, and he is far ahead in the polls.

At the same time, former Rep. Tom Tancredo is running for governor of Colorado, and he is doubling up the GOP’s establishment choice, Scott Gessler. Tancredo is probably the most high-profile anti-Latino racist in the country, so it would be a public relations disaster if he were to become the Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate.

Remember when the RNC did that post mortem of the 2012 election and concluded that they needed to do better with women and minorities?

In Colorado, that ain’t happening.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at