Darryl Glenn now heads to a showdown with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet
Glenn's upset victory marks a win for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and tea partiers
A tea party-backed candidate won the Republican nomination in Colorado’s Senate race Tuesday night, completing a stunning upheaval in one of the most chaotic races this cycle that could help Democrats in November.
Darryl Glenn, a county commissioner in Colorado and former champion college powerlifter, now heads to a showdown with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Glenn emerged from a broad and chaotic field of Republicans in Colorado – with Republican establishment favorite Jon Keyser among others – after a sometimes strange race, which included an ad from challenger Robert Blaha comparing an exploding toilet to illegal immigration.
An email request for comment to Glenn’s campaign was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Glenn’s upset victory marks a win for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and tea partiers looking to send another staunch conservative to Washington who said he is as ready to fight Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he is Democrats. But Glenn’s victory also complicates Republican efforts to hold the Senate, making it harder to flip a Democratic seat in one of the few cases where they are playing offense this year.
Cruz – who has pointedly avoided commenting on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, much less endorsing him, since ending his White House bid – has re-emerged in a handful of congressional battles, including Glenn’s. He flew to Colorado earlier this month to stump for Glenn, describing him as a “constitutional conservative” ready to fight Washington, like Cruz.
And the Senate Conservatives Fund, led by former Cruz adviser Ken Cuccinelli, jumped in on Glenn’s behalf with $500,000 in support.
But Glenn and his anti-Washingtons supporters could be on their own for November. A Senate Republican aide said Wednesday it is “very unlikely” the National Republican Senatorial Committee – which has long been at odds with Cruz and his allies – will spend money in the race now.
“Senate Conservatives Fund got him through the primary and they should commit to spending in the general,” said the aide, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations inside the NRSC.
A spokeswoman for the the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democrats’ Senate campaign arm, said the group was happy with the prospect of Bennet squaring off against a tea partier in November instead of a more moderate candidate.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” Lauren Passalacqua said. Bennet, she added, has been stocking money for a tough race and “was preparing to run against someone like Cory Gardner” – a nod to the first-term Colorado senator who unseated former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in 2014.