Colorado’s Tea Party groups are at a crossroads.
They are coming off a victorious week in successfully pushing their candidates — Ken Buck for U.S. Senate and Dan Maes for governor — through the primary election.
Yet they are mindful of a Democratic strategy underway to paint them as crazy people, obsessed with President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and certain the nation is veering toward socialism.
They know that the power and attention they had during the primary — when Republican candidates courted their energy and cash — will be more diffuse, even distant, as politicians court unaffiliated voters.
And they know that to win mid-term elections in a politically unpredictable
state like Colorado, it will take boots on the ground, a moderate message touting fiscal conservatism and a lot of discipline.
“I don’t care what political affiliation you are right now, people want government to let them live their lives,” said Lesley Hollywood, director of the Northern Colorado Tea Party. “Those are mainstream ideals. There is nothing fringy about that.”
Democrats, though, are eager to show otherwise.
“Tea Party candidates like Ken Buck can run from their records as extremists, but they can’t hide,” said Deirdre Murphy, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Statewide, Tea Party leaders have been holding regular conference calls and meetings to chart a fall strategy.
They say they are girding for attacks from the left — some anti-Tea Party groups are already fomenting — and attempting to get their message out to moderate voters.
Likely gone will be the Tea Party rallies of yore, where people dressed up in 1700s costumes and delivered speeches about rejecting the federal government and declaring Obama’s ties to socialism.