Ken Buck isn’t taking anything for granted.
Even after a 20-percentage point victory in the Republican 4th Congressional District primary election race Tuesday, the Weld district attorney from Windsor plans to campaign as hard as ever in his run against Democrat Vic Meyers and unaffiliated candidate Grant Doherty in the general election Nov. 4.
“I go into that race working harder than anybody else in that race,” Buck said on election night. “I go into that race asking for every single vote that’s in the 4th Congressional District. I will not take anything for granted during this election.”
The general consensus is that the GOP primary election for the 4th CD seat was the one for keeps, and that the general election will be a formality.
The same could be said for the Republican Party candidates in Weld County if Tuesday’s margin of victory was any indication. With Steve Moreno taking 73 percent of the vote in the commissioner at-large race, Lori Saine winning the House District 63 race by capturing 66 percent of the vote, Steve Reams winning with 70 percent of the vote in the Weld sheriff’s race and Carly Koppes taking the Weld County clerk and recorder’s race with 71 percent of the vote, the momentum from the GOP primary in Republican-dominated Weld may very well carry into November. Weld County Sheriff John Cooke running against Democrat Joe Perez of Greeley in the state senate District 13 race, and Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, seeking re-election against Republican challenger Isaia Aricayos of Evans, should also add some intrigue to the general election.
For the most part, though, it looks as though the Republicans in Weld County should dominate in November with Buck leading the way in the 4th CD race. If there was ever a race that could be called in June, it’s the 22-county 4th CD race as Buck leads in fundraising and name recognition over Meyers and Doherty. There are about 175,000 registered Republicans in the 4th CD compared to about 96,000 Democrats.
According to federal election records this cycle, Buck raised more than $737,000, compared to Meyers (about $34,000) and Doherty (less than $700).
Meyers, who lives in Trinidad, said he’s so serious about beating Buck that he traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to drum up financial support with various Democratic organizations in a seat left vacant by U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, who is running against Democratic incumbent Mark Udall in the U.S. Senate race.
“I came out here to let everybody know that I’m here, I’m alive and well and there’s a real candidate, not a token candidate in Colorado,” Meyers said in a photo interview Wednesday from D.C.
Kyle Saunders, a political analyst and political science professor at Colorado State University, said Meyers has to overcome a lot of hurdles in order to beat Buck.
“Buck’s going to have a massive fundraising advantage simply because he’s seen as a credible candidate and has a credible opportunity to win,” Saunders said. “One of the secrets to the whole campaign finance game is being perceived as having a chance to win.”
Saunders said it will be a tough scenario for Meyers.
“You never want to say that nobody ever has a chance, but if you’re asking me to handicap this right now I would not give Meyers a very good chance to win,” Saunders said.
Meyers said he received a positive reception in D.C., but wouldn’t come up with a figure he plans to raise to be competitive in the race.
“I’m confident that we’re going to be able to raise what we need,” said Meyers, whose largest donor has been the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union from Wheat Ridge for $5,000. “I’m not stupid and I’m not naive. I understand it takes a lot of money. Everybody’s focused on money, and I can tell you from the work I’ve been doing over a year now that it’s not all about the money. People are fed up with Congress. They’re fed up with, frankly, people like Buck. Buck’s no different from Gardner. They’re two peas in a pod. Gardner isn’t that popular in the 4th Congressional District because he was catering to special interest and he was ignoring the interest of this district, in particular immigration. It goes across party lines. I’m banking on people of all the parties.”
Meyers, who received 20,696 votes in his uncontested primary race Tuesday, said he told Buck in May that he wanted to debate him in all 22 counties.
“I’m obviously the underdog. It’s going to take a lot of work,” Meyers said. “Frankly, sending Ken Buck to Congress to replace Cory Gardner is tantamount to saying. ‘We approve of your dysfunction.’ ”
Asked if he would take his opponents lightly or listen to others who said the race is virtually over, Buck quickly said: “Oh no. That’s not Ken Buck. In one ear and out the other. I’m here to campaign and earn the support of people in the 4th Congressional.”
As for Doherty, the unaffiliated candidate from Lochbuie has no organized staff and is working with a team of volunteers.
“To be honest, I’m probably the biggest underdog in the race, but that doesn’t really discourage me too much,” Doherty said. “My goal is to definitely win. I believe I can, and I plan to.”