Benson attacks Romer, draws internal GOP fire | A LOOK BACK | colorado politics

35 years ago: Colorado Republican Party leader Bruce Benson publicly castigated Gov. Roy Romer for his frequent out-of-state trips. But at a GOP election planning session for House District 6, participants fired back for Benson with harsh words of their own.

Earlier in the week, Carl Miller, a Denver Post columnist, former political editor and former press secretary for Gov. Dick Lamm, wrote an editorial saying he was extremely skeptical of the wisdom of Benson calling Romer about traveling to promote the called state. It turned out that many Republicans agreed with him.

Mike Cashman, a Republican running against Pat Schroeder for the 1st congressional district seat, said he believes economic development and its pursuit is not really a partisan issue. Cashman said he applauded Romer for “at least getting out there and trying to do business for the state.”

Republican activist Leo Boyle agreed with Cashman but went further in rejecting Benson’s criticism.

“It’s silly,” Boyle said, “that Republicans should thrash Romer at this point when he’s out there actively campaigning for the state.” Especially when Romer’s popularity seems so high. It’s easier to replace Bruce Benson than Roy Romer at this point.”

Ouch, burn!

In other news, the rumor mill was at work again, with multiple sources reporting The Colorado Statesman This State Rep. Phil Pankey, R-Littleton, was considering a challenge to Rep. Dan Schaefer for the 6th congressional district.

But when asked for confirmation by The Statesman, Pankey was speechless.

“Obviously I’m not going up against Schaefer,” Pankey said. “I just can’t believe it.”

Pankey, who was a member of the interim committee on health care, said, as far as he knows, “I’m going to run for my seat in the House of Representatives. But I haven’t even decided yet.”

“But no idea,” Pankey said, “of a possible congressional nomination.”

25 years ago: Rep. Dianna DeGette, D-CD1, made a surprise announcement to formally endorse Dottie Lamm for the US Senate through her former Statehouse colleague, Rep. Gil Romero, D-Pueblo.

“Dottie Lamm is just what Colorado needs right now,” DeGette said. “The people of this state deserve a common-sense senator who shares their concerns about the future, not a senator whose top priority is staying in Washington DC at all costs.”

DeGette, who has had a series of very public disagreements with incumbent Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, said that the Coloradans “deserve a senator to be proud of.”

Lamb tells The Colorado Statesman that she welcomed DeGette’s support and that she had added momentum to her remarkably strong campaign.

“Diana DeGette is a genuine and effective member of Congress whose efforts to promote children’s health insurance and tobacco control have made her a rising star among her colleagues in Congress,” said Lamm. “Your support means a lot to me and my supporters.”

In another news story this week, US Rep. Bob Schaffer, R-CD4, reported the lowest operating expenses of the entire Colorado congressional delegation for the second straight quarter. The report included spending on mail, salaries, rent, travel, equipment, printing, and supplies.

A fiscal conservative since his tenure in the Fort Collins Senate, Schaffer said he believes it’s important to “act as you speak” when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

“I believe in managing taxpayers’ money as if it were my own,” Schaffer said. “This report proves that convention bureaus can be efficiently managed. We will continue to provide our constituents with first class service and not spend more of their money than necessary.”

Rachael Wright is the author of the Captain Savva mystery series, with degrees in Political Science and History from Colorado Mesa University and a contributor to Colorado Politics and The Gazette.