Caldara should correct Colo GOP chair’s suggestion that spending by outside groups favored Bennet over Buck

GOP chair Ryan Call was on Jon Caldara’s “Devil’s Advocate” TV show on KBDI Friday, and the pestiferous Caldara was ribbing Call about how the Colorado GOP inevitably bungles things up when it comes to elections.

Call was mostly unflustered, and managed to stay on his central message, which was his desire to elect Republicans, with support from a rainbow of GOP tent dwellers.

But one of Call’s explanations for the GOP bungle in 2010, was at a minimum misleading, and Caldara, being the GOP gadfly that he can be, should have called him on it (no pun intended).

Call said:

“Our challenge was that we did not have the resources to effectively counter the millions of dollars that was flowing in from out of state to effectively paint Ken Buck as an extreme candidate, which he wasn’t.”

Interesting, I thought, given that former GOP chair Dick Wadhams told the Greeley Tribune that  outside groups spent as much in Colorado backing Buck as they did supporting Bennet.

And the Sunlight Foundations, which tracks communications expenditures, shows that Wadhams was right. The outside foes of Bennet and Buck spent about the same amount of money in Colorado. Among these outside groups, you recall, Colorado was the most popular place to spend money in 2010. Just under $33 million was spent. (Communications expenses constitute the he vast majority of campaign expenses by outside groups, which most often do little else other than buy TV ads.)

Asked if he knew that spending by outside groups backing Buck was about the same as the pro-Bennet side,  Caldara told me he “didn’t know it or didn’t know it the other way.”

“I’ve not gone through the reports for all the different groups involved in the Senate race,” he said.

I gave Caldara the facts on campaign spending by outside groups, and as someone who clearly doesn’t like anyone to make up excuses for the problems of the Colorado Republican Party’s problems, Caldara should record straight for his audience during his next show.

I listened to Call on KCFR’s Colorado Matters back on April 11, and he again suggested that the GOP was outspent on the Senate race, but he didn’t say it directly:

The challenge in the Senate race, quite frankly, had to do with spending from outside organizations that mischaracterized our district attorney’s record and position on many issues….

We saw a tremendous amount of spending by outside organizations, not the party committees, but outside groups that really are ultimately unaccountable to the voters, really weighing heavily in on that Senate race. Much of it was money coming in from out of state. I think they mischaracterized Ken Buck’s positions on many issues in a way that really hurt him, particularly among suburban women.

Call also acknowledged that Buck’s own bungles hurt him in the election, but I think here again he was at least creating the impression that the GOP was outspent by out-of-state interests

If he continues to make this suggestion, either directly or implied, journalists should clarify that this was not the case in 2010.

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