Udall’s Colorado Senate race features 8 Republicans, for now

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is completing his first six-year term, and he’s got plenty of potential Republican opposition.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who narrowly lost to Michael Bennet in 2010 after wooing tea party Republicans to win the nomination,  is having another go at a D.C. job.

Three state lawmakers – Sens. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs and Randy Baumgarder of Hot Sulpher Springs and Rep. Amy Stephens of monument – are all seeking the GOP nod.

Then there are the four lesser-knowns (if known at all) competing for the Republican nomination: Mark Aspiri, Stephen Lafley, Jaime McMillan and Floyd Trujillo.

The reality is that this field of eight is likely to be whittled down to about three, possibly four, by the June 24 primary. Much will depend on the route candidates take to get on the ballot. The general assembly process requires 30 percent of the vote to make it.

Petitioning on to the ballot requires 1,500 signatures from each of the state’s seven congressional districts – that’s 10,500 signatures. And those signatures are due at the end of March.

Stephens has told The Denver Post that she’ll go the petition route, while Buck and Baumgardner plan to bet on the April 12 state assembly in Boulder.

Despite the abundance of candidates, Republicans do appear singularly focused on attacking Udall. That was evident in early January when they piled on accusations that Udall’s staff bullied Colorado insurance administrators to lower estimates of policies cancelled as a result of Obamacare.  Insurance officials denied the calls were hostile, while the GOP continues to emphasize the rising number of policies cancelled, about 335,000 in early January though many policyholders were allowed to renew.

Expect Republicans to continue a concerted campaign against Udall, no matter who their candidate is. A November Quinnipiac poll indicated Udall’s approval rating at 44 percent, with 47 percent saying he doesn’t deserve to be reelected.

Still, Udall is ready for a race with $4.7 million in the bank and a $1 million fundraising quarter at the end of 2013.

Find the list of candidates with their webpages, Facebook and Twitter links in the On The Run section.

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