Since George Allen’s infamous utterance of the word macaca, any statewide campaign or Party that can afford it has sent minions to tail their opposition in the hopes of replicating that scandal. Sometimes these moments have an impact, sometimes they don’t: Trey Grayson’s video trove of Rand Paul slip ups did little to slow Paul’s momentum.
In Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck have been in a tight race for the GOP nomination to take on Senator Michael Bennet. Norton started out the race the establishment darling and heir apparent. But, her series of blunders – skipping the party convention after Buck won the caucuses and spending way too much money ahead of those caucuses — has helped Buck to a lead in the polls ahead of the August 10 primary. Perhaps a sign that Buck is the more feared candidate of the two? Democrats have kids following him around taping his every move.
Of course, candidates get to know the faces they see every day and Buck wouldn’t be the first politician to become friendly with their stalker: Paul’s folks often invited Greyson’s staffer to eat with them, though he never accepted. Still, Buck might not have wanted to have called this kid “buddy” before lamenting to him: “Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera?”
This comes on top of a gaffe last week where Buck was caught on tape telling folks to vote for him “because I do not wear high heels” in a dig at Norton.
Thus far, Norton’s run a pretty bad campaign and Buck has come from literally nowhere to lead her by 7 points in a Real Clear Politics average of Colorado polls. Buck has the energy of the Tea Party groups and has proven himself a savvy grassroots campaigner and fundraiser. But that could all change on the heels of these two caught-on-tape moments. Buck says his latest slip up came out of frustration that his message about deficit spending was getting lost with voters. “I’m not suggesting the language was appropriate,” Buck told The Denver Post and 9News. “But after 16 months of being on the campaign trail, I was tired and frustrated that I can’t get that message through that we are going to go off a cliff if we don’t start dealing with this debt.” Campaigning is like a marathon and Buck seems to be burning out on mile 23.