In Colorado, home to some of the most destructive floods and wildfires of recent years, Republican climate change deniers had a big night at the polls as GOP primary voters selected nominees for governor, the U.S. House, and a host of other offices.
In the four-way gubernatorial primary, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez prevailed, and will face incumbent Democratic governor John Hickenlooper in November. Beauprez was the favored candidate of the Republican establishment, which feared a win by former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo would harm other Republicans on the fall ballot.
Beauprez, who was dubbed “Both Ways Bob” by a GOP rival in the 2006 gubernatorial primary, was trounced in the general election that year by Democrat Bill Ritter.
Beauprez’ views on climate change put him well outside the mainstream in Colorado. In his 2009 book “A Return to Values,” Beauprez described climate change as “at best a grossly overhyped issue and at worst a complete hoax foisted on most of the world.” He compared the “global warming fervor” to “a religious revival or a spiritual experience, with the word being spread by the true believers with similar evangelical enthusiasm.”
This year also will see a second attempted political comeback, by another denier, Ken Buck. He won the GOP nomination in the fourth congressional district, where incumbent Cory Gardner is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Udall.
Buck, who ran a disastrously inept Senate campaign in 2010 that was won by Democrat Michael Bennet, crashed and burned just two weeks after he embraced the Senate’s most notorious climate denier, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Buck appeared with Inhofe and told a campaign audience that the Oklahoman “was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated. The evidence just keeps supporting his view, and more and more people’s view, of what’s going on.”
Beauprez and Buck won’t be alone this fall. In the fifth congressional district, GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn narrowly won his primary. During a 2010 U.N. climate change conference in Mexico, Lamborn signed a letter with other members of Congress to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opposing cap and trade legislation to combat climate change, which the signers described as “an extremely controversial topic in the United States.”
Last year, Lamborn told the audience at a townhall meeting that there are “a lot of contentious facts and claims about global warming and whether it is man made.” When several members of the crowd commented that 98 percent was “pretty unanimous,” Lamborn said he spoke to a scientist who believes that global warming is man-made and “should materialize” 50-100 years from now.
Elsewhere in the state on Tuesday, voters in the city of Loveland rejected a proposed moratorium on oil and gas fracking. The proposal lost by about 900 out of 20,000 votes cast. Loveland is the first Colorado city to defeat a fracking ban or moratorium. Five other cities have approved such measures, and a state-wide measure to allow greater local control of oil and gas drilling could be on the ballot this fall. The Colorado Independent reported that an oil and gas industry-backed group opposing the moratorium had raised about $375,000 to block the effort, compared to just $7,840 raised by local proponents.