First came word
that the running mate picked by Colorado GOP
gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez had compared same-sex
marriage to bestiality. Then Beauprez apologized for
overstating the abortion rate among blacks.
August, it has been one problem after another for Beauprez,
a congressman from the Denver suburbs who was once
considered the front-runner in the race to succeed
departing Republican governor Bill Owens.
Instead, he is in
a dogfight with Democrat Bill Ritter, a former Denver
district attorney who has tried to shed his big-city image
by visiting every one of Colorado's 64 counties.
are getting jittery about the race, and some worry that
the problems dogging Beauprez are indications of a deeper
rift in the Republican Party stemming from a battle
last year over tax breaks.
Democrats have not controlled the legislature and the
governor's office at the same time since 1962, but
they are optimistic heading into November.
figures show Beauprez trailing Ritter in fund-raising and in
the polls. For the period ending September 13, Ritter
reported raising $197,000 to Beauprez's $99,000.
Republicans are concerned, obviously. Yes, the campaign has
made missteps, but those missteps don't have to be terminal.
It's not over yet. The fat lady hasn't sung,'' said
GOP political analyst Katy Atkinson of Denver.
Beauprez has been
dogged for months about his opposition to Referendum C,
a 2005 ballot measure in which voters agreed to give up $5
billion in tax refunds over the next five years to
shore up the state budget. The plan was backed by
Owens and many businesses, a key GOP constituency.
Beauprez said he
has met with Republicans who backed the plan to air
''The whole issue
of that dustup is behind us,'' Beauprez said. Still, he
admitted his campaign has had its problems.
running mate, Janet Rowland, quickly apologized after the
public learned of her comments during a March broadcast of a
public-television program. Rowland said homosexuality is an
"alternative lifestyle," then added: ''For some people, the
alternative lifestyle is bestiality. Do we allow a man to
marry a sheep?''
called the remarks insensitive and crude.
offered his own apology for saying during a radio interview
that 70% of pregnancies among blacks end in abortion. The
Alan Guttmacher Institute, which compiles abortion
data, said a 2002 report suggests that 43% of
conceptions among black women ended in abortion, compared
with 18% for whites.
''I think there
are little bumps in the road people go through, but
Ritter had some too,'' Beauprez told the Associated Press.
''He declared himself pro-life, then said he'd make
exceptions for anomalies. I asked if that included
Down syndrome, and he said yes.''
spokesman, Evan Dreyer, said Tuesday that Ritter does
not support abortions in cases involving a fetus with Down
on abortion has worried fellow Democrats. He said he
personally opposes abortion but insists he will support
abortion rights as long as Roe v. Wade is the
For his part,
Beauprez has attacked Ritter for cutting plea bargains with
illegal immigrants in drug cases and with drunken drivers
when he was DA.
Ritter said he
expects the Beauprez camp to harp on specific cases but is
convinced ''there are no Willie Horton cases out there,'' a
reference to the ad about a convicted murderer who
raped a woman while on furlough from a Massachusetts
prison. The ad helped wreck Democrat Michael Dukakis's
presidential hopes in 1988.
pollster Floyd Ciruli of Denver said Beauprez has two big
problems: a Republican Party divided nationally over the
Iraq war and the Bush administration, and a state
party that is still split over Referendum C.
most important one is that he inherited a very divided
party in a poor year for Republicans,'' Ciruli said. ''I
don't know that it's over, but it's getting very, very
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