GOP sees hope in Senate vacancy

This last political season was defined by the word “hope”. But after the drubbing the GOP received on the national level, that word has not been associated with Republicans lately. Now the upcoming game of musical chairs in Colorado politics triggered by Senator Ken Salazar reportedly being named to President-Elect Obama’s cabinet, may give Colorado Republicans some hope again.

Any person Governor Ritter chooses to replace Sen. Salazar will open up a situation for Colorado Republicans. Mind you, the opening he creates will be no easy road, and far from a clear advantage, but hey, a glimmer of hope is all it takes sometimes.

My fellow CBS 4 blogger Gloria Neal astutely asserted in her last blog that she thinks Rep. Ed Perlmutter has the inside track. I think her rationalization and analysis is dead on.

Other bloggers talk about Rep. John Salazar, or Andrew Romanoff as owning the inside track. They make good points as well.

All of these scenarios offer reasons for State Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams and other Colorado Republicans to smile.

If Rep. Perlmutter leaves the 7th Congressional District, he’ll leave behind the most politically balanced district in Colorado. I know Republicans are having an off year, but it’s realistic to expect a young Republican to give any Democrat a very good race in a special election to replace Rep. Perlmutter.

If outgoing Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff is picked to replace Sen. Salazar, in 2010, he’ll need to run as a statewide candidate after spending most of his career as a “Denver Democrat”. I’ll be the first to admit that as Speaker of the House he governed from the middle, but it may be hard to sell that as moderate in Southern Colorado.

If Rep. John Salazar is picked to take his brother’s place, he’ll leave behind the third Congressional district ripe for a moderate Republican to reclaim, with several strong Republicans on the bench ready to run.

Don’t get me wrong, this Republican glimmer of hope still comes at a time when fundraising as a Democrat is much, much easier. Any Republican running in a race against a Democrat to replace a newly tapped Senator, or against him or her in 2010, will do so as an underdog.

But, after the 2008 election, we all know what a small glimmer of hope can turn into. It should not be underestimated.